‘The Summit’ doesn’t break new ground

WEK_TheSummit_1011
“The Summit” documents the deadly 2008 K2 mountain climbing disaster.
Credit: Robbie Ryan

‘The Summit’
Director: Nick Ryan
Genre: Documentary
Rating:
2 (out of 5) Globes

There’s few adventure sports more foolish than mountain climbing, which is for thrill seekers with a larger death wish than most. But few incidents rival the 2008 K2 disaster, in which 24 climbers attempted to reach the summit of the world’s second largest mountain. Less than half survived, with the majority being picked off one-by-one by slips, lost ropes and falling ice.

The meat of documentarian Nick Ryan’s feature debut is an attempt to get the real story from the survivors, not all of whom agreed to talk. There are conflicting tales from the various international teams, plus the Sherpas helping them along. But Ryan never finds the structure to sift through the mess of sometimes contradictory claims, and can’t even decide if this is some “Rashomon”-esque portrayal of the unknowability of truth. It’s kind of a mess, and one whose valorization of one of the deceased — Irishman Ger McDonnell — over the rest smacks of bad form.

It’s better received as a superficial block of exposition depicting a stranger-than-fiction tale, albeit one that borrows a general structure (talking heads plus recreations) from the far superior mountain tragedy doc “Touching the Void.” “The Summit” works best when inquiring into the special blend of fearlessness, arrogance and delusion that drives people to embrace a dangerous hobby, but even there it only gets an inch below skin deep.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

News

Explosions in new Boston Marathon bomb panic, 'twisted'…

A fresh Boston Marathon terror alert, which caused Bomb Squad officers to order an evacuation while two controlled explosions were carried out, was today being…

Local

D.A. Williams opens new unit to focus exclusively…

D.A. Seth Williams announced Tuesday that he has opened a new unit focused entirely on investigating wrongful conviction claims.

Local

BSL, El to run all night on summer…

Officials announced this week that it would institute a pilot program this summer that would keep the El operational from 5 a.m. Friday morning until midnight Monday morning starting in…

Entertainment

Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas concert, condition unknown,…

Singer Miley Cyrus was hospitalized on Tuesday night after suffering what is believed to be 'a severe allergic reaction' to antibiotics medication. The 21-year-old Bangerz…

Television

'Orphan Black's' Jordan Gavaris talks Felix's Season 2…

Jordan Gavaris plays heroically helpful foster sibling Felix to main clone Sarah on "Orphan Black." We talked to him about what’s ahead for him in…

Going Out

Here's what to do in Philly this weekend

FILM 'Through a Lens Darkly'  Thursday, April 17, 6 p.m. Philadelphia Photo Arts Center 1400 N. American St. Free, RSVP required, 215-232-5678 www.philaphotoarts.org Join Philadelphia…

Arts

Peek behind the scenes at the Academy of…

Generations of visitors have marveled at the dioramas in the Academy of Natural Sciences, watching apprehensively at the puma perpetually poised to attack the unsuspecting…

U.S. Soccer

Andrew Wenger has big shoes to fill on…

Lancaster County native Andrew Wenger will feel pressure to fill the shoes of departer forward Jack McInerney.

NBA

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could…

NBA Power Rankings: Are the Spurs frauds? Could the Mavericks surprise?

NBA

Sixers, Michael Carter-Williams give fans a happy ending…

The 2013-14 season for the 76ers has nearly come to a close.

NHL

Flyers must make Rangers feel their presence

Perhaps it’s the proximity of the two biggest cities in the East, because whenever these two square off the intensity seems to rise.

Home

Steal home decorating tips from Nattystyle blogger Natalie…

Despite the towering ceilings and enviable exposed brick, it’s easy to see how Natalie Decleve’s apartment could be considered a challenge. Perched above the streets…

Home

How to plant a garden in the city

Small on space but big on gardening? You can still have that welcoming oasis of fresh air with an urban garden. Peter Smith, owner of…

Style

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show moving to England

It will still broadcast on CBS this fall.

Tech

Google Glass finally goes on sale for regular…

The Google Glass finally went on sale for regular people. It only costs $1,500.