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Movie Review: Beyond the Edge

Beyond the Edge

Beyond the Edge is a stunning 3D vista of a movie that we should treasure and promote for its unique way of focusing our gaze. Many historical documentaries seek to give us a view through a long lens back to the past. With Beyond the Edge we should be proud that the storytellers have actually transported us back to walk through 1953 with Edmund Hillary from the bee hives of New Zealand through our own mountain ranges to join one of the most ambitious mountaineering climbs of the century.

As a nation New Zealand has achieved many incredible feats over the years thanks to pioneers and risk takers who took the vision set before them in lanky strides. Edmund Hillary’s footsteps to the pinnacle of Everest would be considered our greatest but how did the bee keeper from down under end up on top of the world.

Beyond the Edge, written and directed by Leanne Pooley, brings this focal point in Kiwi history to life. The movie draws on a number of media sources to composite an engaging story that reveals more about the man and the expedition. To the unaware general public we may simply think that Hillary hired his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and went for an afternoon stroll up the Mountain. But this was no molehill and as a project years in the planning and months in the making this was actually a British expedition sponsored to bring kudos back to post-war English soil.

The cinematic experience of Beyond the Edge is riveting. The balance of old footage and photography was a highlight of the movie with all media sources edited to produce clear 3D effects that have breathed life into the archives. Narratives from relatives, expedition leaders and the climbers who have followed in the footsteps of Hillary and Norgay all contributed to paint the highlights and shadows on a deeper story than the famous phrase “we knocked the bastard off” uttered by Hillary to fellow Kiwi mountaineer, George Lowe.

To understand the expedition is to comprehend the achievement. Others had failed, some would pay a sacrifice along the way but when you begin to see the hundreds of people who moved tonnes of food and equipment step by step up the face of Everest you appreciate the people who got Hillary to a place where he and Norgay were positioned for their day in the Nepalese sun.

There is no doubt that the tenacity of Edmund Hillary was a deep seated quality that brought quiet resolve. This was story of a man willing to push himself before all others in order to go to the summit of the 29,000 ft peak of Mt. Everest. Chad Moffit is an easy fit playing the role of Edmund Hillary. The likeness and composed nature speak well of the gentle giant he portrayed.

Beyond the Edge is a exquisite piece of filmmaking that will open the eyes of generations to a Kiwi legend and inspire more ‘Hillarys’ to walk out of the classroom to climb their ‘mountain’. The distributors of the movie have gone a long way to assist in helping both adults and students understand the movie. The study guide and additional resources available can all be found through

Rating: G

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Dads Rocking in Cradles

Dad and Son

I need to act more on my inspiration. It’s a failing to keep holding back and let the flame reach the end of the match before I reach out to light the candle. The last two days I’ve been thinking of a story concept for a movie script. The idea is strongly built around the lifelong relationship between a Father and a Son. Today I decided to step a little closer to the candle and write some notes for this movie. I know fear will hold me back and pride could trip me up but I want to get a little more daring and start this journey. I’m not too old and definitely not too young so the day seems to be about right.


Movie Review: Prisoners


This ‘out of nowhere’ movie about a kidnapping that will shake parents to the core is gaining a lot of support for writer Aaron Guzikowski. The writer of Contraband can thank Mark Wahlberg for taking a script that had little attention and driving it to the point we have a tension filled masterpiece on screen. The mere thought of a child abduction would send many a parent into a tail spin. Think of a loved one and it doesn’t take much to relate and at that point you have become vulnerable to Guzikowski’s pen.

Imagine for a moment your Thanksgiving dinner turns into anxiety and trauma as your six year-old daughter and her friend from next door disappear after a suspicious vehicle is seen in your quiet suburban street. Hours turn into days as the two families implode searching within and without to find clues to the girls whereabouts.

Despite the attention of directors Bryan Singer and Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua as well as Christian Bale, and Leonardo DiCaprio it was Mark Wahlberg’s interest that pushed things along for Prisoners until Canadian director Denis Villeneuve was appointed to shoot Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal in the leads.

Jackman is intense as he plays a mid-west religious father, Keller Dover. A local builder with a bent on protecting his family down to the apocalypse prepared basement in their home, Dover is a man with a past that contributes to his self-sufficiency. His determined strength is passed into the core of his family, teaching his eldest boy Ralph played by Dylan Minnette to shoot deer in case ‘the need arises’. In the supporting cast we feel pain through the eyes of Mum, Grace, played by Maria Bello. At times comatose from the anguish we see the helplessness of all the key parties as they struggle to ask ‘what more can we do’?

The couple who are friend’s of the Dovers with their own daughter missing are played by powerhouse actors Terrence Howard and Viola Davis. They strengthen the emotional tooth pulling that this movie exudes. Watch for some killer performances by Paul Dano as Alex Jones who is seen as the number one suspect in the search for the girls and Melissa Leo who provides the thread as his mother Holly.

With Gyllenhaal we see the moody Detective Loki who doesn’t give up. Tracking down the worst scum bags is his bread and butter and telling the truth from a lie is an intuition he relies on but has he become tired and lost his edge. Gyllenhaal is a dog with a bone in this story prompting us to ask whether the Detective is on his game as time runs out and leads run dry.

As a movie Prisoners builds an incredible collection of imagery that begs the question who is caught and who is the captor. What at first appears an easy drama of sorts moves to touch on our fears and then tortures the audience to ask how far we would go to punish the perpetrators. It walks some dangerous moral ground and asks you two key questions. “Does the ends justify the means?” and “How should the punishment fit the crime?”

Rating: R16 Violence,offensive language and content that may disturb