Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 3:07 PM

  • Share:
             
  • Comments
  • Print

‘Beyond the Edge’ retraces footsteps of famed Everest duo

A movie review of “Beyond the Edge,” which celebrates the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s successful summit of Mount Everest — the first in history to do so. The documentary received 2.5 stars out of 4.


Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review ★★½  

‘Beyond the Edge,’ a documentary directed by Leanne Pooley. 90 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences. Sundance Cinemas (21 and over).

advertising

They called it “an assault on Everest,” man against mountain, with a clear winner remaining. Leanne Pooley’s “Beyond the Edge” celebrates the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s successful summit of Mount Everest — the first in history to do so. Conquering “that prodigious white fang” (as it was famously described by George Mallory, who died on the mountain in 1924) was an astonishing achievement, particularly in the days of wool climbing gear and leather boots with strap-on spikes; at the time, many wondered if such a feat were even possible.

Pooley’s film blends re-enactments (with Chad Moffitt as Hillary and Sonam Sherpa as Norgay) with archival footage of the famed climbing duo’s 1953 expedition, as well as interviews contributed from contemporary climbing experts and historians. (Hillary’s son Peter, who gave the film his blessing, chimes in.) It’s all rendered in 3D, with the archival footage reformatted; you’ll feel the Everest chill and gape at the astonishing vistas.

The film has something of a stately pace, which is perhaps appropriate for a mountaineering film — on a successful summit, nothing happens quickly; just one foot carefully placed in front of the other. The re-enactments are done with skill, though it’s a bit disconcerting to learn later that the climbers were actually on the Southern Alps of New Zealand, not Everest. (Want to see a climbing documentary entirely shot on Everest? Try 2010’s “The Wildest Dream,” which this nonmountaineer found just a bit more thrilling.) Nonetheless, you leave “Beyond the Edge” in awe of these men’s accomplishment.

“We knocked the bastard off,” Hillary famously said upon descent; indeed they did.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com



Free 4-week trial, then $99 a year for unlimited seattletimes.com access. Try it now!

Also in Entertainment

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►