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Film Review: ‘Meru’ tells the story of friendship, determination, and an impossible climb

Exhausted, Renan Ozturk contemplates the long descent after making the summit. The top is only half way.

Would you support your friend if he wanted to risk his life conquering a dream?

In the Sundance award-winning documentary film “Meru”, this dream involves climbing a 20,702 foot mountain carrying 200 pounds of supplies amid a raging snowstorm.

The film follows the story of professional climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk as they embark on a journey to the tip of Meru Peak in the Himalayas. Although not the tallest mountain, Meru is regarded as one of the hardest climbs, with more failed attempts than Mount Everest. Nicknamed “Shark’s Fin” because of its appearance, Meru tests challenging big wall and alpine climbing skills where there is no room for error.


The most intriguing part of the film, however, isn’t the expedition, but the bond that forms between the three climbers. Being the oldest and most experienced mountaineer of the group, Anker acts as a mentor to Chin and Ozturk. When Chin encounters a near death experience and Ozturk accidentally shatters his skull in a skiing accident, it is up to Anker to pull the team back together and reevaluate the decision to make the climb.

For each of the team members, the climb has been a lifelong dream.  The group must overcome personal challenges and come together to summit the mountain. Their friendship is tested and the team must decide if they are going to pursue the dream, even if it means risking a life.

Co-directed by Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi, “Meru” beautifully weaves emotion, adventure, and the art of climbing into one thrilling story.  Although the stunning nature shots and informative commentary by Jon Krakauer certainly add to “Meru”, you don’t need to be a mountain expert to enjoy the film.

“Meru” is a must-see for all audiences because, when it comes down to it, we all have a little adventure inside of us.

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