The Wildest Dream

The Wildest Dream

Static Mass Rating: 3/5

Original release: September 12th, 2011
Certificate (UK): PG
Running time: 87 minutes

Director: Anthony Geffen
Writer: Mark Halliley

Cast: Conrad Anker, Hugh Dancy, Leo Houlding, Ralph Fiennes, Natasha Richardson, Alan Rickman

It’s amazing how one moment can change your life forever, but back in 1999, when mountain climber Conrad Anker spotted a body some 800 feet below the summit of Everest, that’s exactly what happened.

75 years after he was last seen, legendary climber George Mallory’s frozen body was discovered with all his belongings still intact. The only thing missing was a photograph of his wife, Ruth, which Mallory had promised to place on the summit.

The Wildest Dream

Anker, together with director Anthony Geffen, became captivated by this mystery; whether or not he had made it to the summit and placed his wife’s picture there, they became determined to retrace Mallory’s steps on Everest, together with British climbing prodigy Leo Houlding, and unravel the mysteries surrounding his disappearance.

If Mallory did make it to the summit, then he would have conquered the world’s highest mountain almost 30 years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did, making him the first man there.

As driven as Mallory was to get to Everest’s summit, so too was Anker. When asked why, Mallory famously replied “Because, it’s there”.

The Wildest Dream

With Liam Neeson narrating the story and his late wife Natasha Richardson as the voice for Ruth’s love letters to her husband (voiced by Ralph Fiennes), the film’s words have a richness and power to match its stunning visuals. As Anker makes his way up the mountain, aided by the Sherpa, there is a moment for prayer and offering in the puja.

Anker and Houlding participate and it’s a wonderful moment watching East and West come together before taking on Everest. The colours of the banners and decorations as they flap in the wind mark a stark contrast to the blinding layers of white beyond them which shroud the mountain.

The Wildest Dream

As the Sherpa guide them on their way, Anker is also aware that 75 years previously Mallory had done exactly the same, although his welcome was not as warm. The monks at a nearby temple had given Mallory a stern warming that the mountain Gods would tear him apart. Unheeded by this warning, Mallory, a man whose natural instinct was climb any barrier before him, forged ahead.

Including rare archive footage of Mallory at Cambridge, as well on Everest, and with sweeping cinematography which captures the depth and scope of Everest, The Wildest Dream is a soaring, vertigo inducing experience. At its heart is a beautiful and captivating romance, not just between men and their wives, but between men and a mountain.

About Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.