Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Martin Campbell|
|Produced by||Martin Campbell
|Screenplay by||Robert King
|Story by||Robert King|
|Music by||James Newton Howard|
|Edited by||Thom Noble|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|December 8, 2000|
Vertical Limit is a 2000 American survival thriller film directed by Martin Campbell and starring Chris O'Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney and Scott Glenn. The film was shot on several locations including Monument Valley, New Zealand and Pakistan.
While climbing in Monument Valley, siblings Peter (O'Donnell) and Annie Garrett (Tunney) lose their father, Royce (Stuart Wilson). After two falling amateurs leave the family dangling, Royce forces Peter to cut him loose to save Peter and his sister. Peter has since retired from climbing, becoming a full-time wildlife photographer, and Annie has gone on to become a renowned mountain climber. Three years later, during a wildlife photo shoot for National Geographic in the lower Himalayas in Pakistan, Peter's assistant falls and breaks his leg. Peter is dropped off at K2 Base Camp and searches for Annie who is planning a summit attempt on K2, the world's second highest and most dangerous mountain. The expedition is funded by wealthy industrialist Elliot Vaughn (Paxton) who is also part of Annie's expedition, with the help of renowned climber Tom McLaren (Nicholas Lea).
The climb turns out to be a disaster—as a storm closes in and the winds begin to wreak havoc, causing an avalanche. Annie, Vaughn, and Tom fall through a patch of ice and become trapped in a crevasse, while the other expedition members are killed. Peter, who initially radioed Tom to turn around, stands by the radio and begins to hear Annie using Morse code to inform base camp that they are alive. Peter manages to assemble a rescue mission with some of the climbers at base camp, including brothers, Cyril and Malcolm (Le Marquand and Mendelsohn), Monique Aubertine (Izabella Scorupco), Kareem Nazir (Alexander Siddig), and Skip Taylor (Robert Taylor). Skip and Peter also visit the reclusive Montgomery Wick (Glenn), reported to be the world's best climber and foremost expert on K2, who agrees to join in the rescue attempt to reach the team before they die of pulmonary edema. Skip is unable to go as Wick says he needs someone he can trust at base camp directing the mission.
The teams pair off: Malcolm and Kareem, Monique and Cyril, and Peter and Wick. Each team takes different entry points up the mountain to increase chances of success. Monique and Cyril enter trouble when Cyril loses his balance and clings to the side of a cliff. After Monique secures her harness to him, the peak cracks, and Monique also falls over the edge with the leaky nitro canisters exploding beneath them. Cyril is able to climb back up, but an avalanche throws him over the edge of a steep cliff. Monique pulls herself up and radios base camp that Cyril has been killed. Back at the military station, the nitroglycerine canisters come into contact with the sun and explode. Base camp tells the teams to get their cases of nitroglycerin into the shade. Kareem and Malcolm do so, but, while resting after covering the cases, the leaked nitroglycerin eventually gets into contact with the sun and explodes, killing the two.
Meanwhile, underground, Annie begins to suffer from pulmonary edema. Tom is in a more severe state, with his leg and ribs broken. Vaughn is the only one unharmed and possesses dexamethasone. Vaughn's story from his first disastrous climb on K2 detailed that the dexamethasone was swept away, but Wick later discovers an empty box of dex, proving his assertions that Vaughn used it for himself and ultimately let Wick's wife die from pulmonary edema to which Wick swears revenge on Vaughn.
Meanwhile, in the crevasse, Vaughn administers dex to himself and kills Tom with the syringe full of air to save the remaining dex for himself. Wick wakes up to find Peter and Monique gone, having continued climbing the mountain. He soon locates where Annie and Vaughn are trapped, and they use the nitroglycerin to blast a hole, enabling access to the survivors. Wick descends into the cave and harnesses Annie, and although a weakened Vaughn thinks he is about to attack him, Wick attaches a harness to him as well. Along with Peter, he attempts to pull Annie out of the crevasse, but an ice boulder falls, knocking Wick and Vaughn from the ledge in the crevice and pulling Annie and Peter down. Monique alone remains on the ledge holding the rope with the other four hang on to it. To save Annie and Peter, and to fulfill his revenge on Vaughn, Wick pulls a knife from his pocket, says a Buddhist prayer and cuts the rope holding himself and Vaughn (similar to Royce Garrett's death) dropping the two to their deaths.
Recovering at base camp, Annie reconciles with Peter, who finally pays his respects at a memorial for those killed on K2, including Wick, Vaughn, Kareem, his cousin Ali, Cyril and Malcolm, Tom McLaren, and Wick's late wife who was a guide.
- Chris O'Donnell as Peter Garrett
- Bill Paxton as Elliot Vaughn
- Robin Tunney as Annie Garrett
- Scott Glenn as Montgomery Wick
- Izabella Scorupco as Monique Aubertine
- Robert Taylor as Skip Taylor
- Temuera Morrison as Major Rasul
- Stuart Wilson as Royce Garrett
- Nicholas Lea as Tom McLaren
- Alexander Siddig as Kareem Nazir
- Ben Mendelsohn as Malcolm Bench
- Steve Le Marquand as Cyril Bench
- Roshan Seth as Colonel Amir Salim
- 'Vertical Limit' (budget), Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
- "Vertical Limit box office statistics".
- Viesturs, Ed; David Roberts (2007). No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks. Random House, Inc. p. 225. ISBN 9780767924719.
- Vertical Limit. Rotten Tomatoes.
- Deming, Mark. "Vertical Limit (2000)". Allmovie.com. Allmovie. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
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- Vertical Limit at the Internet Movie Database
- Vertical Limit at Rotten Tomatoes
- Vertical Limit at Box Office Mojo
- Vertical Limit at AllMovie