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Uses astonishing visuals to tell the intersecting stories of George Mallory, the first man to attempt a summit of Mount Everest, and Conrad Anker, the mountaineer who finds Mallory's frozen remains 75 years later.
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Riveting documentary will make your heart skip a beat or two
"Meru" (2015 release; 90 min.) brings the story of three guys attempting to peak the top of Meru, an ultra-difficult mountain in the Himalayas that is considered as possible the toughest climb in the world. As the movie opens, we see the three guys in a hanging cod on the side of the mountain, looking utterly exhausted. We then go "3 Years Earlier", where we get to know Conrad Aker, fearless climber for whom "Meru is the culmination of everything I've wanted to accomplish as a climber (we later learn that he's summited Everest a number of times, but failed to summit Meru in one previous attempt). We also get to know Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk. Will they succeed and conquer Meru? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first, I pretty much knew going in that I would like this documentary as I am a sucker for these types of "you gotta see it to believe it" type documentaries. This one may top them all. If you think Everst is hard, just wait until you see Meru's Shark's Fin towards the top of the mountain, a 4,000 ft climb straight up of solid rock. Second, Jimmy Chin decided to catch everything on camera, and hence is a co-director (along with his wife), co-editor and co-producer. The footage that we get to see is nothing short of jaw-dropping. At times, I felt dizzy just looking at the screen. Can you imagine what it must've been like to actually do the climb? But wait! there is more! Just as you think that the documentary is all about the quest for Meru, we get a couple of side stories that filled in the human aspects and as a result made the movie even that much more compelling to watch. Third, there are a number of talking heads giving further insights on what we are seeing, and by far the most interesting of them is Jon Krakauer, author of "Into Thin Air". Last, there is some great music in the documentary, including from J. Ralph, Explosions In the Sky and others.
"Meru" recently opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati without any pre-release fanfare or advertising. I couldn't wait to see it. The early evening week day screening where I saw this at was not attended very well, I am sorry to say. I love documentaries, and I love watching extreme sports (emphasis on watching, ha!). "Meru" is a riveting documentary that will make your heart skip a beat or two. HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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