Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
This is a film done right by just about every measure. The extremes of the story seep deep into your bones -- the beauty, the allure, the desperation and especially the cold in this world where life literally hangs on rope and what Mother Nature chooses to throw at you.
Transfixing in the way that well-told life-and-death adventure tales inevitably are. It is the film’s more mundane elements -- an awkward, under-nourished love story and half-baked politics -- that are problematic.
The Hollywood Reporter
More than delivers on the excitement and terror of this existential flirtation with one's own mortality. Where it falters is trying to link this event to Nazi-era politics and a feeble love story.
An often grippingly staged mountain movie that's good but not great.
Village Voice
Director Philipp Stölzl makes the movie a tad more political (i.e., anti-Nazi) than it needs to be, but Fürmann's stoic performance reduces the story to its harsh, true fundamentals.
The movie's still quite affecting -- in part because of its simple, old-school earnestness, but mostly because Stolzl does white-knuckle work behind the camera to make you feel the height, pain and awe of the grueling ascent, and the bottomless terror and exhaustion after everything goes horribly, horribly wrong.
It’s a literal cliffhanger and the next worst thing to being there.
All the retroactively enlightened symbolism gets monotonous, and reaches an absurd apex with the introduction of a party-line newspaperman played by that scowling emblem of Teutonic depravity, Ulrich Tukur.
The historical backdrop is fascinating and an important part of this story, but there’s a pervasive sense that director Philipp Stölzl and his screenwriters soft-pedal it as much as possible in order to exalt their heroes.
At some two hours, the film is 30 minutes too long. Cutting out the melodrama and sticking with the daring-do is the answer.

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