Beyond the Edge Movie Review
Mountain climbers are crazy. Edmund Hillary, the first dude to summit Mt. Everest (along with Tenzing Norgay, who gets forgotten because he's a Sherpa and Sherpas don't count, apparently), was crazy. The new quasi-documentary Beyond the Edge is anything but.
Director Leanne Pooley brings Hillary's death-defying story to life in documentary format, blending interview pieces with silent reenactments and shots of the mountain. Unfortunately, the drab storytelling doesn't do Hillary's achievement justice as Beyond the Edge fails to hold attention.
There are two ways Beyond the Edge could have worked:
- As a straight documentary, using photographs and talking-head interviews with energetic historians who are passionate about the subject, and maybe a few modern day mountain climbers, too; or
- As a suspenseful reenactment, a la the incredible Touching the Void.
Instead, Beyond the Edge does exactly what the title suggests and falls down a crevasse. Most of the narration comes from letters written by members of the expedition—but told in the most boring of fashion. The reenactments are equally stale and incredibly dull, failing to evoke the sense of awe, wonder, excitement and fear Hillary, Norgay and the others must have felt as they ascended Everest.
You might learn a thing or two from Beyond the Edge, but you might also fall asleep. That's no way to present a crazy story about crazy people.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.