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The Alps

Where to Watch The Alps

NR
2007

The Alps is a 2007 compelling documentary film, directed by Stephen Judson and produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films. The film features Michael Gambon as the narrator, Adele Hammond, a music composer and John Harlin III, a professional mountaineer.

Opening with dramatic cinematography, the film is essentially more than just an exploration of the majestic mountain range. It is an emotionally gripping and revealing journey, a Eulogy of sorts, that shines a light on the struggle of man against nature's harshest realities and the power of the human spirit.

Michael Gambon, known for his captivating voice, brings a unique vibrancy to the narrative. His voice acting makes the already visually appealing scenes even more awe-inspiring. Adele Hammond’s score adds a charming depth to the film, providing a poignant audio backdrop for the breathtaking visuals. It has the power to tug at your heartstrings in one frame and fill it with adrenaline-fueled thrill in the other.

The primary focus of The Alps is on John Harlin III, presented as both a protagonist and a real-life hero, given his audacious intention: to climb the North Face of the Eiger. The Eiger, located in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland, is renowned within the mountaineering community for its illuminating beauty and brutal danger. With a reach of 13,042 feet, its North Face or "Mordwand" (Murder Wall) is considered one of the most challenging climbs the world over.

Harlin's quest is much more than a mere thrill-seeking endeavor. It's a heart-wrenching tale of redeeming loss, personal triumph, and negotiating the distance between aspiration and reality. The climb is, in many ways, a homage to his father, John Harlin II, who met a fatal end when attempting the same daring climb in 1966 when Harlin III was only nine. The film cleverly intertwines Harlin's personal journey to summit the Eiger with his quest for closure and resolution of his father’s tragic end.

The film also features insightful interviews with family members, including Harlin's wife, Adele and their daughter, Siena. The audience is given glimpses of Harlin's preparation and training for the climb, bringing to the fore the physical strains and mental pressures a climber has to endure for such an uphill expedition.

While the focus remains firmly on Harlin's story, this mountain adventure film is also an ode to the spectacles of the Alps themselves. The judicious use of IMAX cameras captures the grandeur of the Alps in an unprecedented form that has rarely been seen before. The movie transports the viewer to snowy peaks, across precarious crevices, exposing the sheer experience but also complex nature of mountaineering. The incredible cinematography stitches an ensemble of breathtaking scenes that make viewers feel as much a part of Harlin's adventure as he is.

Behind this stunning imagery, however, lies a subtle commentary on the impact of climate change. The film also examines how global warming is changing the landscape of the Alps, with visible effects on glacial formations. The Alps does not shy away from environmental and climate change issues, adding an important dimension to the narrative.

The movie serves as an immersive education experience, covering the geology, topography, and history of the German-Swiss-Italian mountain system in a way that is just as engaging as the principal climbing adventure. It shows the rich cultural tapestry of the region, including the lives of the people who inhabit these areas and whose existence have been shaped by the Alps themselves.

The Alps is a compelling, immersive, and profoundly intimate film that successfully translates the raw emotions, profound fears, and ecstatic triumphs of a climber during a death-defying mountaineering expedition. This mountaineering biopic goes beyond showcasing the daunting task of summiting a notorious peak; it narrates a beautiful, life-affirming story of redemption, resilience, and respect for the raw power of nature.

In combining Harlin's personal journey with the lessons on the grandeur of nature, environmental issues, and human resilience, The Alps is a testament to the indomitable human spirit. It is an inspiring watch whether you are an adventure enthusiast, a lover of nature and the environment, or someone who enjoys an engaging narrative.

The Alps is a Documentary movie released in 2007. It has a runtime of 51 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.9..

6.9/10
Director
Greg MacGillivray>Stephen Judson David Breashears
Stars
John Harlin, Robert Jasper, Daniela Jasper
The Alps is available on .