Action / Adventure / Documentary / Sport


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by quincytheodore 9 / 10

As breathtaking as the real altitude climb.

Appreciate Meru, for it is rare that a documentary, or movie in general, able to bring audience in such inspiringly immersive journey. This is more than just a trip to the titular location, it's a private real life struggle of the climbers which we as viewers may not fully understand, yet it's presented with incredible honesty and amazing visual spectacle.

The documentary spans across many years of the climbers' lives, including all the trials and tribulations they must endure. There's myriad of behind-the-scene video making involved as well as testimony of friends and families. Everything is done with polished approach and this honest nature welcomes audience even if they're not into mountaineering.

What's great about this is how they talk about the darkest days in very professional manner. Having to describe one's own intimate fear and life altering experience can't be easy, however the filmmakers still present them with composure. It is rarely that they are emotional when delivering the narrative, even if it's involving a very personal subject, yet the appreciation for the extreme sport and the determination are highly riveting. It also displays the hazard strikingly well one can't help being absorbed in their excursion.

The rest of it doesn't even need words as the documentary captures beautifully taxing landscape. It offers so much clarity before and during the climb itself, from the preparation, trip in the cities before to the physically exhausting climb. There is no five minutes spent without scenery worthy of being wallpapers or posters.

Meru is a visually stunning journey accompanied by brave and inspiring fellows. It is more than most movies wish they could convey.

Reviewed by BasicLogic 10 / 10

Much much better than the theatrical 'Everest'

Wow, this is one of the greatest viewing experiences I've ever had. The whole film put yourself as one of the team climbers with these three great, stubborn, die-hard, totally obsessed mountain climbers. What a cathartic therapy viewing journey! The Meru is just part of the Himalaya but more pure and an absolutely non-commercial summit unlike the Everest. We didn't see any littered garbage like what we usually saw along the route to Everest. When I watched this film, I couldn't help thinking of those films related to the mountain climbing: K2, Into The Thin Air, Everest, Cliff Hanger, Vertical Limit, even a old thriller, The Elgar Sanction. But this particular film would stand out quite uniquely. A simple narration, not exaggerated, not pretentious, not self-important or self-promoted with strong commercial stink. And the camera work, my, so crystal sharp and beautiful. I think 'Everest 2015' is way off the chart if compares to this one, plain and simple.

If you have the chance to watch this film, don't miss it, folks.

Reviewed by ericjams 10 / 10

A Rousing Answer to the Question: Why do They Climb?

The inherent drama of men and mountains has spurred in recent years a glut of TV and film that has blossomed with the technological advancements of our time and the "look at me" attitude pervading society so that everyone with a Go-Pro can film their adventures for the world to see. From Youtube channels of independent climbers filming their routes to big money TV shows that bring the adventurers' lives to our living rooms, the world of mountain climbing and adventure sports in general seems caught in contradictions. Always underlying the contradictions is the simple question of why? Do these individuals risk life and limb for their fame, for sponsors, for a TV deal or out of a unique personal desire and will that drives them into the wild.

The British climber George Mallory who died while attempting Everest back in the 1920s famously responded to the question of Why? with "because it is there". For the next 100 years, many climbers have tried to give better answers, and in Meru, we have a compelling combination of narrative and visual imagery that may result in the best answer of all.

The narrative stands apart from other films and documentaries in that it is not completely linear and veers off course to give the viewers appropriate back stories to inject meaning and under currents to the climbers' motivations. You get to know the climbers as people, and with that understanding, I think it becomes easier for anyone, including people who have never set foot on a snowy ledge, to understand why these people climb mountains.

The technical climbing is filmed by Jimmy Chin (both climber and film director) in a way that I have simply never seen before. As a climbing enthusiast, the shots of these guys on the walls of ice and rock are astounding, gut-wrenching and for me, completely inspiring. The organic relationship of the climbing team, their histories and ultimately their trials on the snow and rock of Meru expand on many common mountaineering themes - mentors, sponsors, risk analysis and contemplating death both yours and your friends.

Jon Krakauer is not my favorite voice in this world, but he is a voice that is adept at translating the mountaineering world to laymen, and his role in this film is served well. In the end, I strongly recommend this film for everyone. For those that can understand the motivation to be the first to stand atop a peak, you will not be disappointed. For those that can not understand the motivation, you might walk away finally getting it.

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