2002 - PG - 98 Mins.
|Director: John Schmidt
|Producer: Jason Behrman, Roger Flessing, Tim Moore
|Written By: Patrick Egan and Robert Pierce
|Starring: Dabney Coleman, Ned Vaughn, David Stuart, Jason Winston George, Todd Bridges
|Review by: Joe Rickey
Man against nature films are a dime a dozen these days at the movies. From Vertical Limit to Twister a few years back, these films usually make a bundle at the box office. The Climb, a religious production from Billy Graham Pictures isn’t quite like mainstream Hollywood films but still is a basic mountain climbing film. The difference here is that the film tries to push the human element of the conflict involving two climbers climbing a challenging mountain as a publicity stunt for a media tycoon. The film attempts to humanize what’s really a clichéd man vs. nature idea and fails for multiple reasons despite one game performance by a veteran actor.
The production values for this film go the way of cheap and fake looking. This film reeks of a low budget. Special effects are all but absent and the camera work is pedestrian at best. It never does approach the downright shoddy level seen far too often in many low budget films of this ilk, but it still comes across as lackluster. The film purposely does away with the expected mountain climbing action sequences no doubt to keep the film under its budget. Don’t go into this film expecting what you saw in the aforementioned Vertical Limit because this film is devoid of any action. The film instead turns its focus towards the two climbers personal struggles. The personal struggles of the two main characters are just too dull and all together uninteresting to hold one’s interest for long. One character has some grieving over the loss of a wife and the other is having problems with his marriage. These characters spend their training for the climb and the actual climb complaining about how others have made their lives miserable. How entertaining.
The media tycoon played by the only known actor in the film, Dabney Coleman, is a smarmy and consistently evil. He organizes the climb to get others off his back for his screwing up of the development of stores in minority neighborhoods. Obviously, the man is not of high moral value and this is established right from the get go. Coleman’s performance is all-evil, all the time and he’s effective in this limited role but the purely one dimensional nature of his character is disheartening. The acting done by Jason George and Ned Vaughn as the two climbers is rather limited in expression and feel. They go through their roles like they are sleepwalking. They look like they are completely bored stiff by the film’s script and if they act as such, why should anyone viewing the film care too much about what happens to them?
Overall, The Climb is a bland and sleep-inducing drama about two men who have terrible personal lives and like to complain about them nonstop. Why, I ask, would anyone want to spend ten minutes, not to mention nearly two hours with these wholly unpleasant people in an equally less than compelling story? I don’t think that there will be too many takers for this Climb.