Movie Review: Meru (2015)

Posted: September 30, 2016 in Documentary

meru

The ultimate achievement for any mountain climber is not climbing Mount Everest, but climbing Mount Meru, in India, which is known as the “anti-Everest.”  In 2008, three climbers, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and newcomer Renan Ozturk, attempted to climb the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, and, after braving a four-day snow-storm, very close to the peak, Anker, Chin, and Ozturk, had to quit and climb down. The trio faced many difficulties between 2008 and 2011, could the overcome physical and psychological losses to attempt another climb to Mount Meru.  If they succeed, this would be the first successful ascent of Mount Meru.  Would they overcome all the obstacles before them, and succeed in climbing the “anti-Everest?”

Meru is much more than a movie about mountain climbing, though the viewer does get to learn what a portaledge is, and gets to see one hanging from the side of a mountain.  After the first climb, seeing what the climbers eat, seeing how they live, the recurring question that the viewer asks is ‘why would anyone want to climb a mountain?’  After seeing what Anker, Chin, and Ozturk go through in the intervening years, between 2008 and 2011, the question shifts from ‘how can they do this’ to ‘can they do this?’  Learning about these men, their families, and the sacrifices they make to do the thing they love, that’s what makes this film worth watching .Writer and mountaineer Jon Krakauer clearly has a lot of knowledge on the subject, and added a lot of flair to the film with his asides.  The only drawback in this film that I can find is that the filmmakers spend too much time on the first climb, and by the time the idea of a second climb is even broached, much of the movie is gone.

Meru is definitely a visual treat.  The viewer sees these climbers as they are climbing this daunting peak.  The viewers see the blinding snowstorm that shuts the first climb down for four days.  And most importantly, the viewer sees some spectacular views of Mount Meru, without leaving the living room.  The pacing is good, and the movie isn’t too long.  Jimmy Chin, who co-directed the movie, was also one of the climbers.  To film this movie WHILE climbing the mountain is amazing, and makes the viewer feel like he or she s part of the climb.

Meru:  Meruvelous

 

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