Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Eight Mountains (2023) movie review.

Some obvious drone shots are included, but many of the walking sequences appear to have been shot on Steadicams, following the men on their treacherous journeys. Andrea Rauccio is listed as the Steadicam operator, but the credits for the camera operators are long and the entire crew deserves credit. There are times when the camera is so far away that all you see is an entire white space, with a small person walking through the blinding snow. It might be a cliché to say that the mountains are the third main character in the film, but it’s the truth.

Mountains are important. Time is given to allow us to soak up the atmosphere and get to know the popular slopes in different weather, dawn, dusk, winter and summer. The score by Swedish composer Daniel Norgren is a major contribution. Music is played almost everywhere, sometimes a long sharp note, with muffled beats underneath, creating an eerie and lonely feeling. There are also songs that are used to soothe the passing time. The film works cumulatively. There is conflict on occasion, but it is not the driving force. Lifelong friendships are not made up of intense ups and downs. They consist of spending time, being mindful and thoughtful of your friend, and making sure you stay in touch, even with the distance between them.

Friendship is real and that is essential. The movie wouldn’t work without him. There is depth to hydrate and the film takes time to do so. There are relationships with parents, wives, finances and big questions like: What should I do with my life? Am I on the right track? “The Eight Mountains” is a reminder of how rare it is to see a movie about male friendship that doesn’t involve hangover-like crimes or scheming. Some people have a wide circle of friends. Others have only one good friend, the friend with whom you cannot hide, the friend with whom it is always easy: even fights will not threaten the relationship. Maybe a friendship like this should start in childhood, before you know better before watching people try to “veterinize” them. Children say to each other: “Do you want to play?” no other words are needed. If Bruno and Pietro had met for the first time as grown men, it might not have happened. We become withdrawn, set in our ways, and wary of others.

“Eight Mountains” and its devotion to the slow rhythms of Bruno and Pietro’s friendship are reminiscent of the famous last lines of William Butler Yeats’s poem. The Municipal Gallery is reviewed:

Consider where human glory begins and ends
And say my glory was that I had such friends.

Now plays in theaters.

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