Critic Consensus: Gripping visually as well as narratively, Meru is the rare documentary that proves thought-provoking while offering thrilling wide-screen vistas.
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Critic Reviews for Meru
Meru is a picture that appeals to novices and masters of the sport alike, a harrowing look at the dangers, motivations, stakes and spirituality involved in the craft of climbing.
Are these guys nuts? Are their egos needy of self-affirmation? Or is there some higher purpose in such inexplicable endeavors? Do some people just have a genetic need to live on the edge?
A triumph of editing and narrative beyond "Are you kidding me?" visuals, Meru is a climbing story with context; biographies are woven in incrementally.
What drives these men? "Because it's there" merely scratches the surface. "Meru" may not answer the question completely - likely nothing can - but it is a thrilling, harrowing attempt.
Chin and Ozturk capture both the astonishing views from the top of the world and soul-searching moments inside a cramped tent dangling from the side of the mountain like a used tea bag.
Audience Reviews for Meru
This is the story of the first successful hike up Meru Peak in the Himalayas, a brutal and treacherous ascent, and also the backstories of the three hikers, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk. Chin also co-directed and was the main cinematographer, and captures some stunning shots. What's fascinating is the tragedy in these men's lives, and I don't mean the trio's first unsuccessful bid up Meru that ended just 100 meters short. Anker's mentor died on a climb, and later his best friend died in an avalanche that hit them both. Ozturk went off a cliff while shooting mountain skiers at Jackson Hole, fracturing his skull and nearly dying. Chin miraculously survived a monster avalanche in the same place four days later. All of these stories are shown in retrospectives, and are just as compelling as the final attempt up Meru's infamous 'Shark's Fin' route. The film captures the mentality of the hikers, why they're so driven, their mentorship of younger hikers, and the ultimate trust they must have in each other. It seems like a crazy thing to do, but they're quite intelligent about measuring risk, extremely skilled at climbing, and stoically persevere despite extreme cold and very difficult conditions. It really makes the documentary feel complete, and I have to say, seeing them up on that narrow ridge at the end is inspiring.
A focus on the men and not the mountain which is a draw back in this film. While the visuals are stunning, the men are...not so much. More National Geographic and less biopic.
Superb mountain climbing documentary about the determination and skill needed to conquer Mount Meru. I was just thinking also that Explosions in the Sky's song, The Birth and Death of Day, would be a great movie song and I found it in this. Superb vistas and cinematography that shows the true grit and determination people go through to achieve their dreams.
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