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Films based on fact are always a challenge, especially if it’s an event where you know the outcome. As with Into the Void, we know how Beyond the Edge will finish. We know Hilary reaches the peak of Everest. But that doesn’t make his journey any less compelling.
Using a combination of archival footage and modern-day re-enactment, this feels like the authoritative version of events. The risks and dangers Hillary and Tenzing face are shown in detail – wind so dry it sucks the moisture from your skin, oxygen deprivation, and extreme thirst – making the climb as impossible as the pair’s naysayers claim it to be.
Chad Moffit, who plays Hilary in the re-enacted portions, is a dead ringer for the man. Watching him overcome the obstacles, that also include dismissal from the expedition’s British leaders, is about as close to seeing the actual event as we are likely to get.
Beyond the Edge premiered in the TIFF Docs section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival and was named runner-up in the festival’s People’s Choice Award for Documentary