Nothing says adventure like mountain climbing. But nothing spells adventure gone wrong in bigger or bolder letters than the 2008 K2 disaster.

The Summit, directed by Nick Ryan, was the third of six documentaries in the Doc Soup Calgary series, now running since November.

Through a combination of reenactments and narrations by many of the survivors, Ryan’s film attempted to shed some light on the still mysterious tragedy that happened on K2 only six years ago.

The emotional and heart-wrenching narration by some of the survivors’ drove the film. Without their willingness to retell their experiences, the film would not have succeeded as it has.

Their stories made the film what it is. It is often hard to explain a complex event to someone who was never there or has never heard about said event. Reenactments are the solution, and Ryan achieved much with his. There has been so much effort put in to understanding what happened on that mountain six years ago, and with little flair, Ryan was able to portray this complex event quite plainly through the actors and the narration. Unfortunately, the coin has two sides.

Over the course of the film, the director chose to switch between events and perspectives of events happening simultaneously to people at different places on the mountain, along with the narration that accompanied said events. Practically, it makes sense to orient the film this way because then the events of the climb could unfold chronologically. But as an audience member, it became somewhat frustrating. During each event, you became invested in that particular storyline and person. Then suddenly, the story would change to something else happening to someone else on a different part of the mountain, without finding a conclusion to the first storyline. So just like on a coin, the combination of reenactments and narration allowed story and emotion to unfold beautifully, but those same elements in the specific arrangement they were in was a downfall.

The next film in the Doc Soup Calgary series to be showcased will be The Armstrong Lie, directed by Alex Gibney. What started off, for the director, as a story about the ultimate triumph of beating cancer and winning seven Tour de France championships, was ultimately turned onto one about scandal and the collapse of the legendary Lance Armstrong.

The Armstrong Lie will play at Eau Claire Theatre on February 5, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. For more information or ticket sales, go to: doc_soup_calgary/ 

By Shannon Buckley

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