Matthew Lickona 3:45 p.m., Dec. 15
Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s solid sports documentary takes its name from India’s Mount Meru, which features a fin-shaped granite peak that has thwarted many of the world’s best climbers, including the three-man team of famed veteran Conrad Anker, his protégé Jimmy Chin, and relative newcomer Renan Ozturk. But Anker’s desire to conquer the rock that his own mentor never could was only inflamed by the defeat, and despite some frightening setbacks, the trio set out on a second attempt. Outdoor writer Jon Krakauer provides knowing commentary to orient the uninitiated, the mountain provides dizzying visuals, and the climbers’ personal and professional lives provide the dramatic drive. Some of the “getting there” footage feels like the padding it is, a little more technical data about the scaling of rock and the hanging of ropes would have been nice, and there are any number of times when you wish someone would ask a probing question or two. But the good parts are really good, and what emerges is a clear-eyed portrait of men driven to achieve, and achieve together. 2015.
- "Alpinist Conrad Anker talks Meru" • August 19, 2015