31 08 2015

MeruMeru” feels like something I might stumble across while channel surfing through the outdoor networks.  It would grab my interest for a few seconds based on the strength of an image but then lose me within the minute on the nature of its specialized interest story.

Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi comes across as a rather niche film, one unwilling to pander to the uninitiated such as myself.  And in a way, I admire that even as I feel indifferent about the film.  I appreciate some films that alienate viewers of lesser cinematic literacy, so it is only healthy for filmmaking that some films can exclude me.  For mountain-climbers and adventure seekers, my rather nonplussed reaction might signal that you will love “Meru.”

If you ever get bored watching “Meru” (and that was fairly frequently for me), just take a step back and think about how these three climbers actually filmed this incredible journey!  On top of survival, they have to think about getting the action in focus, framing it nicely, and getting a good angle.  The peak of Meru requires an essentially straight vertical climb, so the fact that they can capture great images is nothing short of astounding.

The same could not be said, however, for the talking head backstories that fill in the lives of climbers Chin, Conrad Anker, and Renan Ozturk.  Every time “Meru” turns its attention away from the mountain itself, the movie becomes less interesting.  Rather than enhancing the drama of the climb, it distracts from it.  C+2stars



One response

1 09 2015

Well that’s too bad. I feel like it could have been interesting but instead it turned into a real insider’s piece.

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