Instant Gratification: “Meru” and four other good movies to watch on streaming

 

meru

Pick of the week: “Meru” (Amazon Prime) — My full review is here. And you think YOU’RE COLD. Blanket up and watch this thrilling documentary about three climbers who attempt to scale the 21,000-foot Himalayan peak nicknamed the “Shark’s Fin,” fall 100 feet short, and then overcome personal tragedies to try again. Co-directed by one of the climbers, Jimmy Chin, the film gives you a terrifyingly authentic sense of what it’s like to undertake one of these expeditions, as well as insight into what sorts of people would spend their lives doing so.

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“Meru”: The absolute peak of mountain climbing documentaries

meru

“Meru” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:27, three stars out of four.

“Meru” opens with a shot of three of the world’s best mountain climbers, sleeping in a giant bag hanging off the side of a cliff thousands of feet in the air. You don’t see that on the cover of Outside magazine.

While “Meru” has jaw-dropping visuals to rival that of fictional mountain climbing films like the upcoming “Everest,” it has a lasting impact because of how it digs into the hard work of climbing, and the psyches of those willing to to devote their lives to. Co-directed by legendary climber Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, “Meru” brings us closer than any other documentary to understanding what it’s like to be up hanging out the side of a treacherous mountain. But the more I understood what it was like, the less I understood what drove people like Chin to go back up there again and again.

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