The story this documentary sets out to tell is a very important one, but the documentary has been created with a very confusing narrative.
The biggest problem is really the decision to include the story of Walter Bonatti, from a totally separate incident that happened on K2 almost 70 years before the tragic events of 2008 that are the central focus of this documentary.
Effectively they've sandwiched together what should be two separate documentaries, and the way that Walter Bonatti retells his story (reading from a script) is really jarring and inconsistent with the tone of the rest of the documentary footage, and as a result it really pulls the viewer out of the movie and the story which should actually be the central focus of our attention (the 2008 incident.)
On top of this, they also chose to use his story as a juxtaposition to the 2008 events - putting the two side by side and cutting back and forth. In the end this simply results in a very confused film narrative with two completely separate incidents that only really share two details in common: the mountain they took place on, and the way in which the events were distorted after the fact.
I don't think the connections were strong enough though to actually justify putting both events side by side in this film, and there is no obvious reason for doing this - instead it just detracts from what is a very powerful story when told without any distractions.
I think that it would have been far better to use that screen time to actually focus on telling the story of 2008 in more detail - there are key moments which aren't really fleshed out properly and as a result you find yourself asking: 'what the heck actually happened there?'
Another thing that felt a little bit disjointed was the beginning of the documentary - it was quite hard to grasp what the actual set up was (i.e. what was going on and who the key players were), and once you get to the end of the film you realise that a lot of that initial first part of the documentary didn't actually add to your understanding of these events.
I also think that after setting up some very obvious questions around ethics, the management of the fateful climb, and prudent decision-making on the mountain, the filmmakers never really explored and went back to these issues in a way that ties the film together with a solid narrative.
I would still recommend this documentary, as I think the story it tells is an important and engaging one, but, sadly, the final film never really reaches its full potential because of the way it was put together.
You also need to go into this movie with an awareness that, in order to properly understand these events, you will actually need to do some supplemental reading about the incident - which really does defeat the whole point of having a documentary movie about an incident.
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