A documentary that follows a team of veterans returning from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq as they set out to climb a towering Himalayan peak to overcome challenges and heal the mental and emotional ravages of war.
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Jacob Aaron Estes
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Eleven veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan join an expedition to climb the 20,000 foot Himalayan giant Mount Lobuche. With blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer and a team of Everest summiteers as their guides, they set out on an emotional and gripping climb to reach the top in an attempt to heal the emotional and physical wounds of the longest war in U.S. history. Representing nearly every branch of the military, the veterans, and the Gold Star Mom who joins their trek, bring humor and deep emotion to this hero's journey all captured with breathtaking, vertigo-inducing cinematography. Written by
Khumbu Pictures, LLC
I saw a screening of this film in October. It's a great documentary. It doesn't just tell a great story, but a number of great stories inside a great story. You will have a much greater understanding of, and respect for, our American military service men and women, including what they sacrifice and what they suffer, selflessly and quietly, first when they're in war and then after they get home. You'll get to know each of these military men and women, these wounded warriors, so well that you care about each of them and want to know how they're doing now. You'll see their spirit, courage and character in how they fight personal and natural obstacles to climb a tremendously challenging mountain, but also in how they fight battles every day that are just as big or bigger. You'll hope that they'll continue to get help and that they'll eventually find peace and happiness. I don't think you'll ever look at or think about veterans the same way again. And you'll want to know how you can help. In addition to the appeal of the story itself and the people it's about, it's just an excellent documentary. Great subject, great story, great scenery, great cinematography, great music. You'll leave feeling changed. I highly recommend it.
Now, I'd like to say something about the average user rating you might see here. When I sat down just now to write this review, the average user rating on IMDb was about 3.5, based on about 110 reviews. That's just plain BS. If I calculated the raw ratings, the average was about 7.5. If I calculated the raw rating excluding 18 people who rated it a 1 (haters of the U.S. or the U.S. military, I'd guess; half were from outside the U.S., and most or all probably never saw this film or have never even had a chance to), the average rating would be about 9.0.
I'm a big fan of IMDb and generally trust them in their use of a "weighted average" rating to present a more accurate average rating. Specifically, they say: "IMDb publishes weighted vote averages rather than raw data averages. Various filters are applied to the raw data in order to eliminate and reduce attempts at 'vote stuffing' by individuals more interested in changing the current rating of a movie than giving their true opinion of it. The exact methods we use will not be disclosed. This should ensure that the policy remains effective. The result is a more accurate vote average."
I'm just saying that, in this case, their method for averaging votes has clearly had the opposite effect, at least at this point. I am beyond certain that it has given more weight to people who have never seen the film but are hostile to the subject than to people who have actually seen the film and given honest ratings. Maybe the weighted average rating system doesn't work with a very small sample size, and maybe it will work better and be more accurate when enough people have seen the film and rated it. In the meantime, I'd suggest that IMDb take a look at their weighted average system and how it's working for this film. And, for now, I'd recommend that you ignore the average user rating.
If you want confirmation that this is a solid, high-quality film, just look at the high Metascore rating of 77/100 from critics. This is an excellent documentary. Go see it if you get a chance.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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