In 1996, expeditions to Mount Everest were at an all-time high, with several commercial mountaineering groups offering guided climbs for more or less experienced climbers. This film, by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormákur, follows the expeditions of two such groups, one led by New Zealander Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and one led by American Scott Fisher (Jake Gyllenhaal), as they both embark on a risky ascent to the summit of Everest on May 10th 1996. With a straightforward narrative style and great attention to detail, Kormákur is able to create a contrasting atmosphere of majestic achievement and looming tragedy, as the film's ensemble of free-spirited, nature-loving, adrenalin-seeking characters prepares for the climb of their lives. In a rather slow first half, where Kormákur chooses a patient build-up, the film is breathtaking with its wonderful cinematography and location shooting, and the director presents the film's broad cast of characters skillfully and lets us familiarize ourselves with them. This effectively sets the stage for the climb itself, which is as enthralling and suspenseful as any psychological thriller. And still the film never feels contrived or manipulative, but rather as an important story about an ill-fated day. There are fine performances by the entire cast, with special mention to Clarke, Gyllenhaal and Emily Watson.