“Fearless Nepali mountaineer Nirmal Purja embarks on a seemingly impossible quest to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in seven months.”

Director: Torquil Jones
Writers: Gabriel Clarke. Torquil Jones
Staring: Nirmal Purja, Suchi Purja, Reinhold Messner
Release Date: November 29, 2021

14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible (2021) was a recommendation of my girlfriend’s brother. He, as an outdoorsman and climber himself, had watched this four times in full as of Christmas and had seen the opening five minutes countless times. That positive affirmation along with Jimmy Chin, the director of Free Solo (2018) having attached his name to the project, made 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible (2021) a perfect snow-day viewing experience.

Nirmal Purja is the focal point of this story. This man, who has already accomplished so much in such a little amount of time, has a quest that many deem impossible. Purja is going to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in just seven months. Annoyed at being constantly shut down in terms of sponsorships and support, Purja decided to name his project Project Possible. Using an uncanny amount of mental and physical strength, Purja is determined to accomplish this task to inspire the human race and the rising Nepalese climbing community.

The mindset of Purja and the mission of 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible puts the movie in a difficult position. Purja wants to inspire everyone and anyone that they can do anything they put their mind to, and in so, the story doesn’t focus so much on the physical journey climbing up the 14 peaks, but rather the journey of Purja in trying to accomplish his Project Possible. Is that confusing? I think it might be.

14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible relies on the person climbing the mountain and not the mountain itself. Purja and his companions are the characters, not any of the peaks they are climbing. What made Free Solo (2018) so remarkably engaging and haunting was how you respected the danger of the El Capitan just as much as you respected the uniqueness of Alex Honnold. That same fear is not hard lined into us watching 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible.

Yes, are the 8,000 meter peaks scary. They are terrifying. They are deadly. Let’s get more of that in 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible. Let’s learn more about the trails that these man have to climb. I want more graphical breakdowns of the deep crevasses that Purja and his team have to traverse. The graphic style that director Torquil Jones chooses to illustrate Pruja’s journey is fantastic. The green style chapter markings keep things progressing but they come so quickly.

Part of me thinks that 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible would be better as a three part miniseries. We would be able to spend more time in his three phases and we would be able to spend more times on the mountains. It would have added 14 new characters to this story.

Now I have been too harsh. 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible is gorgeous to look at. The shots are stunning and many of the still photographs that Purja and his team took on his climbs are breathtaking. You will find yourself marveling at how daunting the mountains look and how dazzling white the seemingly harmless snow is. 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible will give you an appreciation for how dangerous earth can be.

The visuals of this mountain climbing expedition are majestic. If only the story could match its peaks.

This is an instance where I maybe am getting to movie snobby for folks, but even in my possibly over-zealous criticizing, I can still whole-heartedly recommend 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible to anyone who wants to be inspired.

I just need to ask. With the pacing of this documentary, did the filmmakers of 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible purposely not make the climbs seem exceedingly difficult or dangerous (I know, they still are) to push the idea that nothing is too hard to overcome? The mountain never seems taller than when you are at its base, and it’s Purja’s dream that this movies makes it seems like you are climbing up the mountain with an express escalator.

STANKO RATING: B (3.5/5 Stars)


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