(Willem Dafoe, et al / Blu-ray / R / 2018 / MPI Home Video)
Overview: Willem Dafoe provides a narration sampled from British mountaineer Robert Macfarlane’s acclaimed memoir Mountains of the Mind, and a classical score from the Australian Chamber Orchestra accompanies this majestic cinematic experience.
Blu-ray Verdict: Only three centuries ago, setting out to climb a mountain would have been considered close to lunacy. Mountains were places of peril, not beauty, an upper world to be shunned, not sought out.
Why do mountains now hold us spellbound, drawing us into their dominion, often at the cost of our lives? From Tibet to Australia, Alaska to Norway armed with drones, Go-Pros and helicopters, director Jennifer Peedom has fashioned an astonishing symphony of mountaineers, ice climbers, free soloists, heliskiers, snowboarders, wingsuiters and parachuting mountain bikers.
Directed by Jennifer Peedom, she brings forth a tablet of sometimes seemingly unearthly mountains from around the globe for us to admire - and for those involved to explore.
Incorporating some incredible, dazzling even opening visuals from Rene Ozturk, and inclusive of the aforementioned narration by a Willem Dafoe, 'Mountain' - along with its wondrous, epic music score from Richard Tognetti - is as revealing a documentary about both nature and the human spirit as I think I've ever seen.
Expertly touching on our consistently fragile and adventurous human need for bigger, faster, and more dangerous, it's the perfect storm of a set up here which should entertain even the most casual passerby of viewer.
Again, the music from Tognetti is a top notch and is totally utilized to heady perfection in sequences that balance electronic textures with other worldly whispers that one might hear whilst atop such mountains.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra also deliver music by Vivaldi, and other classical composers perfectly, as they themselves support the epic montages that unfold before our very eyes.
What we get in between is a certain breed of daredevil, mountain-adoring people that treat a seemingly unscalable precipice as something that has to be conquered - no matter what the cost.
The editing of all the breathtaking sequences throughout the film are, just that, breathtakingly and expertly handled, and as you follow along with these people, you too will experience that stomach-turning feeling of the insanity when a cliff has been jumped off. That, or a tightrope walking exercise between spacious red rock desert mountains.
In closing, American actor, Willem Dafoe (deeply, and characteristically narrates the words of the British writer Robert Macfarlane like a timeless guide unpacking dialog that unlocks the mystery behind each mountain. There could not have been a better choice for narrator than he, in my humble opinion. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.