There were conflicted reviews of Everest, but one thing it failed to do for me was instill that level of fear you expect when going up against mother nature. It is a powerful force that claims countless lives every day. Which is why when you take something like mountain-climbing, and the risks are amplified to a scary level, you want to feel the fear. Scared of the unpredictability of the elements, in awe of the achievements of those on-screen, and remain in suspense unaware of what waits round the corner.
Based on real events, Everest did not manage to do that. Maybe it was because it wasn’t real enough, or maybe it was because it was just an inaudible bunch of dudes yelling at each other in brightly coloured jackets. Thankfully, Meru stepped in to fill this mountain shaped void. A documentary about 3 elite climbers who try to tackle Mount Meru via the “Shark Fin” route; a route nobody has ever done before, you can tell this is not going to be a walk in the park. As much as you hope they have a great climb, there is a reason that nobody has done this route before and it’s this idea of overcoming insurmountable odds that drive up the tension of the unknown.
In what is essentially a video diary of the build-up and ascent, it tells the story of obsession and determination in the face of life threatening scenarios. Worrying, scary and undoubtedly gripping, this is much more than a straight-forward climbing story. This is real, the people are genuine, and despite all the risks, it is still breathtakingly beautiful to see. There is no reconstruction here, no special effects – it is just unparalleled access to a frightening obstacle, and those crazy enough to try it.