Beyond the Edge DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist
Beyond The Edge

The Premise
A 3D feature film about Sir Edmund Hillary's monumental and historical ascent of Mt. Everest in 1953 - an event that stunned the world and defined a nation.

The Review
Sir Edmund Hillary really does have to be in the running as the greatest New Zealander that ever lived. You wouldn’t get much argument out of many kiwis about the amazing thing that he did in being the first to conquer Mt Everest, however even more than that, what he went on to achieve in his lifetime. One of which was to be named in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th century. In a poll in 2005, Reader’s Digest put Hillary as “New Zealand’s Most Trusted Individual”. This was a man who put New Zealand on the international map and demonstrated not only great courage but a huge depth of character.

I think that massive courage has been shown here by the film makers behind Beyond The Edge in tackling such an immense adventure by such a man as this. To be fair, they have done a brilliant job. It has to be a hard thing to build tension and drama into a film when everyone who watches the film already knows the outcome. Perhaps it is in showing the steps along the journey that one can bring about the emotion behind the story that in turn has you guessing what obstacles were overcome along the way. This is not a story of people setting out to achieve something and doing it easily. This was a team of which the first two men to attempt the final climb failed(Hmm perhaps that is a bit of a spoiler… sorry) There are plenty of trials that the team faced before they saw triumph. So you will feel the pull to the front of your seat as the tension builds as you begin to find out more about this piece of history that you might have thought you knew about but will realise you only knew a little.

The casting director has done an amazing job finding someone who looked like a young Hillary, which makes the transitions from archival footage and photos to the modern re-enactment absolutely seamless. Chad Moffit is the spitting image of Hillary as was Sonam Sherpa that of Tenzing Norgay and there was no moment in the film when I didn't believe I was watching Hillary and Norgay. I think that is one of the components of the film that I loved the most, the use of real and dramatized footage. With only a still camera with them on the final climb, it was impossible for Hillary and Norgay to comeback with moving footage of their climb and hence director Leanne Pooley has done a wonderful job of capturing the story in a style that full engulfs the magnitude of the event. I really do think this is the perfect example of how it takes a great team to make great movies and the obvious synergy between director Pooley and Producer Matt Metcalfe has generated something rather brilliant.

The Verdict
One of the most moving true life stories beautifully brought to life in 3D on the big screen. A must for all red-blooded kiwis to see.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 5th March 2014
Rating: G
Duration: 92 minutes 
Genre:  Documentary Feature
Starring: Chad Moffitt, Erroll Shand
Director: Leanne Pooley (Shackleton’s Captain)

The Extras
Filmed on location on Mt Everest plus Mt Cook for closeup action sequences.

The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival on 6 September 2013, where it won positive reviews from fans and film critics. The Toronto Star, Canada's largest newspaper, gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars.