Beyond The Edge, film review: Little pathos or despair in Hillary and Norgay's journey

(3D) Leanne Pooley, 90 mins Starring: Chad Moffitt, Sonam Sherpa
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The Independent Culture

It may seem perverse to say so but this documentary account of the 1953 conquest of Everest suffers from the fact that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay successfully reached the top and came down again.

From Touching the Void to Into the Silence, the best books and films about mountaineers are invariably chronicles of failure. This is a very well shot film which blends newsreel, interviews and reconstructions in seamless fashion.

The director Leanne Pooley touches on the tensions between the New Zealand bee-keeper Edmund Hillary and the British public school-boy types who made up most of John Hunt's team.

There are fleeting references to British post-imperial angst and to Hillary's own demons. "We knocked the bastard off," was Hillary's laconic description of his astonishing achievement.

The film makes us admire him but there is little here of the excitement, pathos and despair that you find in the stories of climbers such as George Mallory and Joe Simpson.