film reel image

film reel image

Friday, June 14, 2024

14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible 2021 * * * Stars


2021 had The Alpinist but it also has another movie about mountaineers. Yeah I'm talking about 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible, a documentary about a dude (Nirmal Purja) whose chief goal in record time, is to climb the summits of the world's 14 highest peaks. We're talking stuff like K2 and Mount Everest, yeesh! Now do you think Purja and Marc Andre Leclerc ran into each other or crossed paths when all this was going down? Maybe, maybe not. Heck, they're both manful regardless, looking for that adrenaline like the adrenaline junkies they are. 

So OK, do I think "14 Peaks" feels rather predictable, staged, and only to be expected? Uh yeah, it kind of has to be. Otherwise the film would be titled "12 Peaks" or um, "Almost 14". And do I think the pic's subject (Purja) is rather cocksure and self-serving in the way he goes about his business? Of course. Again it kind of has to be this way. I mean confidence is key when you're standing almost 9,000 m above sea level with only an oxygen mask to keep you grinning. "If I can stay alive, I can do this". Yeah you tell 'em Nirmal.

Distributed by Netflix, featuring interviews from legendary climber Reinhold Messner, and shot primarily in Nepal, 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible takes its formalized mantra and churns out a rather streamlined and numbing docu about mountainous Mother Earth and its horrific beauty. Kudos goes out to Chris Alstrin, whose striking cinematography has every frame of the Himalayas looking like it could be captured onto a portrait. Kudos also goes out to Nainita Desai, whose pitch-perfect musical score signifies a sense of deafening danger coming right around the corner. Yeah with "14 Peaks", almost everything is possible, even if you know in advance that Purja is gonna eventually reach his ascending, "Waterloo". Natch.  

Written by Jesse Burleson

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