8 October 2010 | cambridgefilmfest
"The Wildest Dream"
THE WILDEST DREAM tells the story of George Mallory's lifelong obsession with conquering the summit of Everest, culminating with his doomed third expedition in 1924 and the suggestion that he was indeed first to the top. With a stellar cast of voices including Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes and the late Natasha Richardson, the film blends the personal accounts of relatives, re-enactments, testimonies of historians, black-and-white films and photographs from Mallory's life and the correspondence between him and his wife. This creates a compelling piece that is part history, part mountaineering adventure and part love story. The atmospheric cinematography is a work of art (and an achievement in its own right given the challenging terrain), with vistas of the billowing clouds and snowcapped peaks below Everest, and the 'prodigious white fang' (as Mallory describes it) of the mountain itself. Mallory is brought to life with a poignancy that reveals the man behind the myth, whether as a tiny figure perched on a glacial rockface with the stars glittering above, or in his letter to his daughter where he describes himself as a 'greedy daddy' for craving cake and tea parties. Running parallel to this story is the modern-day expedition led by Conrad Anker, one of the mountaineers who found Mallory's body a decade ago. In his attempts to recreate Mallory's last expedition, additional angles emerge, providing insights into the psychology and dangers of climbing at high altitudes (particularly in 1924-style hobnail boots and gaberdine jackets). This is a compelling portrait of a man who proves that – as he says through the voice of Ralph Fiennes – 'there's no dream that mustn't be dared', even if the journey to the top is a one- way ticket.
Cambridge Film Festival Daily