Settled at a base for climbers, we meet Hong-gil (Jung-min) and his team. Later they rescue a duo played by Reply 1994‘s Jung Woo (Trash Oppa!) and Kim In-kwon. Hong-gil tells them to never climb again, but as fate would have it, they would meet years later and team up.
The sequence of them proving their worth to the experienced alpinists is funny. Mootaek (Jung Woo) breaks up with his girlfriend of 5 years. He plays it off like he wants to be a climber, but he hilariously breaks down and it leads to a poignant moment of thought with Hong-gil.
A woman is a mountain, but console her, don’t conquer her.
The mountain scenes are intense. They use a camera on a helmet to film certain scenes and it’s a thrilling perspective. Actually all the mountain scenes are majestic.
I like Jung Woo, but I found him playing off his boyish qualities a little too much. Then on the other hand, I found Hwang Jung-min to be a little vanilla. They still had great performances in which I really felt their characters’ friendship grow.
The second half of the movie where the mood changes. The flashback scenes to Mootaek’s fatal climb with his 2 partners absolutely gutted me. The climbing spirit is about trusting each other, but being aware of the risks. Hearing one of the team members beg to get them help, beg for their lives is heartbreaking. They know it is a suicide mission, but why won’t they try? It’s futile and they die in the death zone.
Hong-gil tries to rally the old team to retrieve Mootaek’s body. I found these scenes to be really really good. Actress Ra Mi-Ran‘s scene was especially honest and affecting. She’s one of my favorite supporting Korean drama actors. She’s definitely a scene stealer and I almost broke down sobbing because of her. Mi-ran is just so good. (Note to self, watch Reply 1988).
Now, I won’t spoil the rest, but just be prepared to cry cry cry. Unless you’re dead inside.
The movie is 125 minutes long. No MPAA rating, but it feels like a PG13 for some language.
Los Angeles release December 18, 2015.
North American release date January 1, 2016.
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