Meru ★★★★½

There's something inexplicably profound about these guys and their apparent need to climb mountains. I've seen probably four or five of these types of movies and each time; I come away with the same question. Why is this particular display of arrogance and needless risk so full of rich truths and awe-inspiring revelations? Meru specifically follows three men of varying levels of experience as they seek to triumph over the legendarily difficult and dangerous Meru mountain. Two attempts are made, in between which we see the enormous adversity each climber has encountered. Whether it be horrific injury, past traumas or seemingly miraculous near-death experiences; we see how close these men live to death every day. It's easy to scoff at their struggles and merely assert that maybe they should just quit the climbing business; but what Meru kinda-sorta proposes is that it's not really a choice. Recklessness is sort of built in to humanity on some level; and it's expressed in each of us differently. For these guys, it's the experience of overcoming enormous odds and "conquering" a peak. Whether it be a promise to an old friend, a rapid recovery from a horrific injury or a simple existential issue of identity and purpose; these guys find some sort of answer or validation when they reach that peak. My all-time favorite documentary, >Man on Wire functions similarly to Meru. It's just a beautiful film.