Vertical LimitDecember 8, 2000
A climber must rescue his sister on top of K2, one of the world's biggest mountains.
Release Year: 2000
Rating: 5.6/10 (30,596 voted)
Critic's Score: 48/100
Stars: Scott Glenn, Chris O'Donnell, Bill Paxton
A high-adrenaline tale of young climber Peter Garrett, who must launch a treacherous and extraordinary rescue effort up K2, the world's second highest peak. Confronting both his own limitations and the awesome power of nature's uncontrollable elements, Peter risks his life to save his sister, Annie, and her summit team in a race against time. The team is trapped in an icy grave at 26,000 feet – a death zone above the vertical limit of endurance where the human body cannot survive for long. Every second counts as Peter enlists the help of a crew of fellow climbers, including eccentric, reclusive mountain man Montgomery Wick, to ascend the chilling might of the world's most feared peak to save her.
Writers: Robert King, Robert King
Colonel Amir Salim
Steve Le Marquand
This December. Fear will Fall. Courage will Rise.
Sony Pictures [United States] |
Release Date: 8 December 2000
Filming Locations: K2, Karakoram Mountain Range, Pakistan
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $15,507,845
(10 December 2000)
Did You Know?
The first time director Martin Campbell has ever filmed anything in his home country of New Zealand.
In the helicopter, when Peter is going to the base camp, the headset the pilot is wearing keeps shifting position. In one shot, it is behind his right ear, the next shot it covers his ear, and the third shot it is back behind his ear again.
You should try the tea, indian of course. We maybe at war with them but theres no sense in over-reacting, their tea's the best.
There's no limit to mountaineering melodramatics
While mountaineering is one of the most exhilarating of sports it has
produced little good fiction, and few good fictional movies, though
there have been some excellent documentaries ('The Man who Skied Down
Everest', the Imax 'Everest' film, for example). Somehow, when it comes
to fiction, the clichés take over, and this film, with some genuinely
gorgeous camera-work and impressive stunts, is full of them. The
wealthy megalomaniac determined to conquer K2 at any cost, the climber
who lost his nerve when his father was killed who pushes himself into
action to save his sister, stuck in a crevass high up the mountain with
the moneyed one, the bitter old man of the mountains who is essential
to the rescue, the guide who has sold out, It's all there. One does
expect some improbability of plot in a film like this, but the thought
that someone might cart Pakistani Army liquid nitro-glycerine in back
packs to the top of K2 to blast a crevasse open really was a bit much.
Apart from a very attractive opening sequence in Utah (Monument Valley,
I think) the film was shot in the New Zealand Alps, with a few clips of
the genuine Karkoram Himalaya spliced in. For this viewer, it brought
back pleasant memories of climbing in the University holidays around
the Southern Alps. But climbing is a dangerous sport; on one trip I was
accompanied by four people, all of whom subsequently died in separate
climbing accidents (one on Makalu, next to Everest). There is a fair
amount of special effects malarky (no-one, not even Temuera Morrison
pretending to be Pakistani, would fly an old military helicopter so
close to a mountain wall at 21,000 feet), but there are also some
genuinely stirring shots.
Unfortunately, the acting for the most part matches the script. Chris
Connelly, good at sensitive young men, is wrong for the brother bent on
rescue (it's more of a part for Bruce Willis), and Bill Paxton is only
moderately menacing as the ruthless Richard Branson-style billionaire.
In fact the only decent piece of acting is Scott Glenn's Wick, the
veteran with attitude. The'comic' Australian climbing brothers, Ces and
Cyril, or whatever their names were, were profoundly embarrassing I
guess Ben Mendelsohn will be hoping no-one will recognise him with a
balaclava on his head. There were also lackluster performances from the
two female leads, Robin Tunney and Izabella Scorupco. One of them,
Scorupco, is an ex-Bond girl ('Goldeneye') the casting people
obviously didn't realise she was going to be spending the entire movie
wrapped up in Gore-Tex. There's no sex at high altitude it's too
damned cold and anyway survival takes precedence over procreation.
I think Roger Ebert got it right on this one a 'B' movie with an 'A'
movie budget. There are all sorts of anomalies the lack of visible
water vapour issuing from the climbers, their sprightly behaviour even
after hours at 26,000 feet, the use of north wall hammers to attack a
rock/ice pitch, the miraculous helicopter piloting but somehow the
magnificence of those great peaks comes through. The worst thing about
a movie like this is that it portrays the mountains as hellish, which
is far from the truth. What is it the psalm says 'I will lift up mine
eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my strength'? Climbing is one
thing I have never regretted doing, and it would be a pity if people
were put off the sport by stuff like this. Actually I think the people
who do attempt peaks like K2 would see this film as preposterous,
overblown Hollywood brown smelly stuff, and they'd be right. But there
is some nice scenery.