Sunday, November 21, 2010

The North Face: A Film Review...

First off...don't believe the cover seen above...

The film (German language based, foreign, subtitled) really contains very little reference or involvement of the Nazi regime and certainly not enough to deserve the swastika shown here.  Secondly, the line "a true story" is also misleading.  Though based on true events a number of characters and events contained here are entirely fictional.

That being said, the film is still well done and takes a number of turns that would not be typical of a Hollywood movie.

The basic story behind the film is one that I was familiar with and surrounds the multiple efforts made in the '30's to climb the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland.  Numerous attempts were made and a number died (60+ to dated) in trying.  Heinrich Harrer (he of Seven Years in Tibet fame) would succeed in scaling this wall in 1938 while this film deals with a 1936 effort, also by Germans.

An overall solid effort with good acting, a compelling story and well shot climbing scenes, the viewer doesn't ever think "I'm watching a "film" of people climbing" and instead one is able to suspend their disbelief for the duration and buy into the fear and tension of hanging onto the side of this mountain.

If you enjoy climbing and outdoor films in general, in the vein of Touching the Void this film will not disappoint.

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