“That only happens in the movies,” people say, lending to the idea that films aren’t the most credible sources, even those that are based on a true story. But is it possible for a feature film’s primary responsibility to be to present the true facts, to tell a good story, or to do both? In the Everest movie, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, and Keira Knightly, among other A-list actors, director Baltasar Kormákur worked to incorporate a large degree of authenticity into the story of Beck Weathers and others who, in 1996, were on Mount Everest on its deadliest day up to that point.
Weathers’s book Left for Dead was one of the major sources for the film, which, according to critics, is high on cinematography and realism–possibly at the expense of the plot. For your next research paper topic in film studies, consider looking at the balance of plot vs. realism in the man vs. nature film, Everest. Read more