The Summit


The Summit

Critics Consensus

While it could use more clarity than director Nick Ryan brings to bear, the real-life story behind The Summit still makes for compelling viewing.



Total Count: 36


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,364
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Movie Info

K2, commonly known as Savage Mountain, is an extension of the northwestern Himalayan Mountain range and is located in the remote region between Pakistan and China. With an unprecedented fatality rate of one in four climbers, it has rightfully earned the title of the second most murderous mountain. But with any high risk sport comes the love of the challenge, and in August 2008 22 climbers from several international expeditions converged on High Camp of K2, the last stop before the summit. Forty-eight hours later, 11 had been killed or simply vanished into thin air. Like a horror movie come to life, it was as if the mountain began stealing lives, one climber at a time. THE SUMMIT is a seamless pastiche of the climbers' firsthand footage, after-the-fact interviews and reenactments. It plays like an engaging narrative film as it focuses on the mystery behind one extraordinary man, Ger McDonnell, who was left behind in the death zone as his best friend searched in vain to find him, rescuing several others. As the legend surrounding McDonnell and the ten others grows, fearless new climbers are drawn to test themselves against the deadliest mountain on Earth. (c) IFC


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Critic Reviews for The Summit

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (13)

  • Remarkably, The Summit achieves some of the same dizzying impact as Gravity -- by philosophical and psychological means, rather than special effects.

    Oct 30, 2013 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • The subject is fascinating and the cinematic punch afforded by peaks so massive, inspiring with their terrible beauty is a filmmaker's dream.

    Oct 24, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • You have a tangled story being told by director Nick Ryan and writer Mark Monroe in a somewhat tangled way. The result isn't as much confusing as it is distracting.

    Oct 18, 2013 | Rating: C | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • First-time director Nick Ryan isn't entirely up to the challenge in "The Summit," but he does deliver some dramatic and visual highs in the attempt.

    Oct 17, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

    Tom Russo

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • At once repetitive and puzzling. There is a lot of finger-pointing. Assertions are made, theories offered, but not much in the way of certainty.

    Oct 11, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • There's something unsettling about a real-life tragedy presented as an action film; that the filmmakers never acknowledge this is more unsettling yet.

    Oct 10, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Summit

  • Oct 18, 2015
    It's time shifting structure seems unnecessary in what is after all a documentary/docudrama and not a fiction film, but otherwise this is a gripping and desperately sad account of a tragedy on the slopes of one on of the most beautiful places on earth.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer

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