14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible Movie Review
Imagine climbing Everest and then 48 hours turning around and doing it again. And then again. And again. And again.
14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible is about both a person and an incredible feat: the ascent of the 14 tallest mountains in the world in a matter of months—an accomplishment that previously had taken seven years. Nepali climber Nimsdai Purja, frustrated that the sherpas who do an incredible amount of work and have been to the top of these mountains more than anyone rarely get the credit they deserve, is the man to do that.
First: mountain climbers are crazy. My wife would say they are idiots. I find them fascinating. This is how I preface every documentary I review about the sport.
I love mountain climbing documentaries because they venture to places I will never go, nor have little desire to. They explore people who are driven by things I don’t understand. And they depict feats that are breathtaking.
Purja makes for a compelling subject. With a military background and a sense of purpose that is more nationalistic than exploratory, he’s different than most recognized mountain climbers. Paired with the stylish, polished direction by Torquil Jones, 14 Peaks also feels markedly different from other, similar documentaries, even if the end result is the same.
The doc features some gorgeous photography, and does a fine job getting inside Purja’s mind. Its biggest detraction is that with the focus on a quantitative goal, Jones is unable to dig his clamps in deep on any specific climb or technical feat. Despite its glossy, high-budget look, 14 Peaks remains slightly removed from the mountains; the best climbing documentaries these days focus on the fine details of the climb and talents of the climbers, and that’s simply not the focus here.
14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible showcases a fascinating individual and impressive achievement. While it doesn’t rate among the best mountain climbing documentaries out there, it’s still a film worthy of attention.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.