Running time: 95 minutes
Starring: Cecilie Skog, J.J. McDonnell, Pemba Gyalje Sherpa, Marco Confortola
Who to see it with: Thrill seekers
The Summit documents the 2008 K2 disaster that killed eleven mountaineers and seriously hurt three others. Archival footage and dramatic recreations give a glimpse of the mountain climbing experience and the harrowing events of the disaster. Interviews with the climbers and their loved ones complicate the mystery of what actually happened during unrecorded moments. This mystery explains why the director approaches the subject in an unusual, nonlinear way, repeatedly alternating between events before, during and after the climb. Families eager to learn what happened have been troubled by conflicting accounts of certain events. The film's final portion overly focuses on the confusion regarding the fate of a particular climber and a survivor's skeptical memories. The relatives' pain is felt, but the filmmakers' treatment of the subject feels a bit like an attempt to create a hero and villain.
The Summit often diverges from recent events to discuss the plight of an Italian climber whose part in an early expedition was unrecognized. The guy is an interesting personality and his tale occasionally relates to the main narrative, but it feels disconnected. The best parts of the movie focus on the mountain itself. The recreated events effectively show the frightening nature of the situation, and mountaineering discussion helps viewers understand why people so eagerly engage in such dangerous activities. The mountain is simultaneously beautiful and incredibly frightening. The Summit is a slightly unfocused, gripping depiction of the 2008 K2 disaster that gives insight into the minds of risk takers.