This is an utterly gripping and beautifully made film. The climbing scenes are awesome and so realistic - no fantastical special effect unlike Vertical Limit. The magical atmosphere of the north face and the sense of dizzying hight looking down towards Grindelwald are most impressively captured. The political background of the story only adds to the tension, and the contrast between savagery of the mountain and the cozy upper-class luxury of Kleine Scheidegg Hotel intensifies the sense of drama.
My only disappointment about this film is the ending. Having read Heinrich Harrer's in-depth account of the tragedy in his book 'The White Spider', I found the intervention of the fictional character, Luise, quite off-putting. The fact was relentlessly tragic and more heroic. There was no guardian angel in the form of a woman encouraging Toni Kurz to keep awake during the night, he had to do more difficult operations than merely unravelling the ropes and connecting them, and his last words were not feeble 'Mir ist so kalt...' but 'Ich kann nicht mehr...' which were a heart-rending utterance of a life who had fought to the end and literally exhausted itself. It could have been a great film if they'd stuck to the historical facts.