Starring: Hwang Jeong Min as Uhm Hong Kil, Jung Woo as Park Moo-Taek, Jo Sung Ha as Lee Dong-Gyoo, Kim In Kwon as Park Jung-Bok, Ra Mi Ran as Jo Myung-Ae, Kim Won Hae as Kim Moo-Young, and Lee Hae Young as Jang Chul-Goo
Running Time: 125 min
Twinkies: 5 shining stars (and tissue boxes)
Synopsis: Mountaineer Uhm Hong-Kil and his expedition team go to the Himalayas to find the body of Park Moo-Taek, a mountain climber of Mount Everest who didn’t make it out of there in 2005.
Musings: “A mountain climber knows that his death on the mountain means he becomes part of the mountain”. This is a loosely based quote from the movie; however, this becomes obviously the truth when you watch this brilliantly filmed movie. I have seen many movies that are based on the life (and death) of mountain climbers. Everything is stunning to include cinematography, the stories are personal and gripping; and the tears that you shed are definitely real.
I liked how at the beginning hour of the movie, the director/writer tried to lighten the movie some by bringing to us some very comical moments. There was the first time that Park Mootaek (Jung Woo) and Park Jung-Bok (Kim In Kwon) first met Uhm Hong Kil. They were both part of an Alpine Club expedition and were excited to meet him. Later on, when they were introduced as new recruits for the climbing team, there was the seriously funny moments when they were made to hike to the top of a peak; both overloaded to the top with boxes of foods and supplies for the summit store. When they got there, they were instructed to turn around and immediately hike back with all of the garbage from the summit in tow.
We also got to see the family life of Uhm Hong Gil whose wife was ready for him to retire and spend time with the children. The fact that he spent a lot of time climbing wasn’t more obvious than when he was sitting in his children’s room, looking at the wall of coloring pictures of the family. Most, if not all of the pictures, he couldn’t be found in any of them.
We also spent time with Mootaek and his girl friend (later wife). When he first joined the climbing expedition team, he made a point to break up with Su Yeong (played by Jung Yu Mi). But as him and Hong Gil were sitting at the summit camp of their first climb together, he told Mootaek how important it was to have her in his life. And so they married.
It was during one of their climbs, that the two men made a pact to climb 16 of the highest peaks on Earth together. Due to a bad fall that aggravated an old climbing injury, Hong Gil was forced to retire after they had completed 14 of the 16.
One thing you take away watching this movie is the need for teamwork. Without teamwork, a climb could mean the life (or death) of a member. I felt that the climbing scenes were very realistic. There was many times where they effectively used the body cameras as I mentioned. One particular scene which was not only stunning but one I’d never seen before was the use of a ladder to cross a 50m drop crevice. With the use of the body camera, you really felt like you too were crossing. Awesome cinematography, I must say again.
If nothing else, you will come away with tears in your eyes, an experience of absolutely stunning sunsets, mountain views, and an appreciation for all that the actors endured to make this movie of great men and women that endeavor to conquer these mountains. It wasn’t until 2007, to keep his promise to Mootaek, that Um Hong-gil reached the summit of 16 highest peaks in the world. This is a fact that he is the first person to do this.
This movie was a wonderful memorial to the 3 that died that day. Of the three, only Park Mootaek’s body was found, still where he was left at the Second Camp to the summit. The others, Park Jung-Bok and Jang Min are definitely part of the magestic mountains. Because Mootaek was frozen solid, it was too dangerous to bring him all the way down, so the team decided to bury him at Camp 4. Unless you are an unfeeling person, there is no way you cannot come away proud of the real life men and women who made every effort to bring their comrades back and the absolutely wonderful acting that everyone did; especially big props to Hwang Jung Min who always delivers, in my opinion and Jung Woo who totally impressed me in this movie. I highly recommend this. Again, bring tissues!!
Trailer is available on on YouTube Website only. The movie was released in South Korea on December 16, 2015 and internationally January 1, 2016. It may be awhile before it becomes available on streaming websites but keep it in mind for the future.
I’m available on Twitter. Thanks to all of you Twinkles out here who are taking the time to read! If you have a suggestion for a future review, just leave me a comment! I’m always happy to have movie suggestions.