Throughout Vertical Limit the sanctity and value of human life is weighed. There are examples of people who give their own life to save others. Stories that show the incredible power of love

Vertical Limit

This page was created on December 09, 2000
This page was last updated on May 17, 2005

Click to enlargeDirected by Martin Campbell
Story by Robert King,
Screenplay by Robert King and Terry Hayes

Chris O'Donnell .... Peter Garrett
Bill Paxton .... Elliot Vaughn
Robin Tunney .... Annie Garrett
Nicholas Lea .... Tom McLaren
Alexander Siddig .... Kareem
Scott Glenn .... Montgomery Wick
Izabella Scorupco .... Monique Aubertine

Produced by Martin Campbell Robert King, Amy Lescoe (associate), Mike Medavoy (executive), Marcia Nasatir, Phil Patterson (associate), Lloyd Phillips (executive)
Original music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography by David Tattersall
Film Editing by Thom Noble

Rated PG-13 for intense life/death situations and brief strong language.

QuickTime 5 MB
QuickTime 11.3 MB
QuickTime 23 MB

RealVideo Trailer

1. Utah 2. Three Years Later 3. I Need One More 4. Base Camp 5. You Wanna Do This? 6. Spindrift 7. Avalanche 8. Your Father Was A Smart Man 9. Don't Touch Her 10. Maybe You Should Turn Back 11. Nitro 12. Vaughn Decides 13. Annie And Peter 14. Peter's Jump/Tom's Heart 15. It's A Good Song

Hold your breath
Click to enlargeAn emotionally-charged action-adventure story, Vertical Limit is a high-adrenaline tale of a young climber (Golden Globe nominee Chris O'Donnell) who must launch a treacherous and extraordinary rescue effort up K-2, the world's second highest peak, to save his sister (Robin Tunney, End of Days) and her summit team in a race against time.
© Columbia Pictures

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeLove and Sacrifice
in Vertical Limit

Scott is married, has a little one on the way, and is a youth pastor for Westview Baptist Church here Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Movies are a large part of his life which he enjoys with his wife.

Click to enlargeVertical Limit is an intense movie. It shows the beauty of the mountains, the awesome power of nature and an unfolding human drama composed of heroism, death and survival. Throughout Vertical Limit the sanctity and value of human life is weighed and numerous difficult decisions are made. Often times we hear of examples of people who give their own life to save the lives of others, stories that show the incredible power of love and sacrifice, stories that epitomize unselfishness and raw displays of courage. Vertical

Click to enlargeThe opening scene sets the stage and defines the issues that are dealt with throughout the rest of the movie. In this scene Peter and Annie Garrett are climbing with their father and are left dangling hundreds of feet of the ground on the side of a cliff after a couple of amateur climbers fall off and hit them on their way down. This is the first time when the value of human life is weighed.

The clamp holding the rope to the cliff is about to give way under the weight of the three of them, therefore Peter is faced with the dilemma of cutting the rope and letting his father fall to his death or to wait and not cut the rope and risk having all three of them die. After thinking it through and upon his father's urgings Peter cuts the rope causing his Dad to fall to his death so he and Annie can live. Limit is full of these types of stories.

Click to enlargeFast forward a couple of years. Peter stops climbing and begins to work for National Geographic while Annie becomes a world champion climber. Neither of them has spoken since the tragedy and by chance they happen to meet in Pakistan at the base camp for K2, the world's second highest mountain. Annie is part of an expedition that is sponsored by Elliot Vaughn, a billionaire who wants to get to the top as a publicity stunt for his new airline.

About two-thirds of the way up the weather takes a turn for the worst and instead of heeding the advice of the base camp, Elliot forces the team to press on. His pride ultimately leads to destruction (Proverbs 16:18) and as the storm grows, Annie falls down a crevice in the ice while the rest of the team gets swept off the mountain by an avalanche. Fortunately for Elliot, he and the team leader also fall into the crevice and as the avalanche passes over, they get buried.

Click to enlargeA time limit is now in place and a rescue mission is launched as Annie, Elliot and the team leader have only 22 hours before the elements kill them. Not wanting to lose another member of his family and to make up for the loss of this father Peter and five others form a team and to go back up to save his sister and the others.

Spiritual Issues in Vertical Limit

Love and sacrifice.

Click to enlargeI counted at least ten times when someone in the film risked his or her life to save someone else. There were no guns pointed at anybody to force this sort of behavior events occurred and people simply reacted to help others. Peter and Annie's father died to save them, and numerous members of the rescue mission died while trying to get to Annie. These all serve as a glimpse of what Jesus Christ did for us. Peter and Annie's father showed his immense love for his children in the same way Jesus Christ showed his love for us, by dying so we might live. The movie juxtaposes life and death constantly as often times a simple rope is all the stands between one and the other. As humans we have a rope that saves us from death and gives us life. "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24) Jesus Christ has provided us all with that rope, we just need follow his calling for us and reach out and grab it.

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge

Pride and Selfishness.

Click to enlargeWhile pretty much everyone else in the movie displays positive character traits, Elliot Vaughn represents evil and selfishness. It is because of his pride that not only to many die in his current expedition, but we learn that at least one other person died in a past attempt at K2 because of him. Trapped in the cavern waiting for the rescuers to come, Elliot sets up a timetable so that their rations will last the three of them the longest. Tom, the third member trapped down in the crevice beside Elliot and Annie is hurt and thus his chance at survival is less than the others. Elliot therefore withholds the DEX, a medicine that keeps your lungs from freezing and collapsing from him and in fact goes as far as killing him so that their rations and medicine is not wasted. "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil practice." (James 3:16). Elliot is an excellent example of what happens when you put yourself above and ahead of everything and everybody around you. The Bible tells us that "blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth," (Matthew 5:5) and that's standard to pursue.


Click to enlargeThere is a beautiful scene in this movie that illustrates wonderfully what Jesus' blood that he shed on the cross does for us. After Elliot kills Tom down in the crevice an explosion from the nitroglycerine opens up the top of the crevice. The opening is too small for Annie and Elliot, but by filling a bag full of Tom's blood and hoisting it through the opening it allowed the rescuers to find them and save them. Tom's blood enabled Peter and the other rescuers to locate them and to bring them life.Click to enlarge Jesus' blood that he shed on the cross does the same for us. Click to enlargeIt enables God to find us and save us from our sins and what we really deserve. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:23). Jesus' blood covers the multitude of sins that we have and imparts on us Jesus' righteousness, so that we can have a relationship with God.

Subject: Vertical Limit
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001
From: Helen

I can see Vertical Limit as almost a modern-day parable of Luke 10:1-11, when Jesus sends out folks in pairs to do his work, with nothing extra.

In Vertical Limit, the rescue team has to work in pairs. We need to do this (but often don't) as Christian Disciples.

In Vertical Limit, rescuers could only take what they could easily carry. In Luke 10, Jesus tells the disciples to take very little. And today, we should not take "baggage" with us as Christian Disciples.

In Vertical Limit, the head of the rescue team puts pairs together not by how comfortable they are with each other, but by pairing a strong climber with a weaker one. In our Christian Discipleship, we may also be able to get more done for God's Kingdom by becoming paired in new ways where we can help each other.

I see lots of parallels between this movie and bible story. Thanks for your site!
peace- helen+

Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001
From: Lisa

Vertical Limit is a movie about people fights with nature and other people at the same time. The storm had came unpredictable and fast, a group of 6 have to face it and try to survive. the theme of this movie will be that a personˇ¦s real character shows only during the hardship and therefore what people appear to be isnˇ¦t necessary what they really are. There were some great shots of the mountains, it started from the bottom of the mountains to its top showed how powerful the mountains were. The camera always predict what the character will do next, for example, when they were asking if anyone wanted to go with them, a shot was taken to a girl and her face has a impression that she couldnˇ¦t decide what she want to do. And the next shot was that she is already waiting for them to go. But there is no shot to predict what the nature will do next, b/c the director wants to give viewers surprise and by doing that it makes the film mush more intense and interesting. Elliot is the only bad guy in the movie, he insisted to go on when the leader said no. And by this we know that he will be the bad guy. A humanˇ¦s evilness is even more dangerous than the nature, Elliot killed the leader of his group even before the nature did. The most stand out scene was the blood been splashed on the ice. The blood belonged to the leader of the group like Jesus, He is the leader of the Christian body, he shed blood for us so we could be saved and have eternal life.

Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2001
From: Sharon

Have seen this one three times - put me on the edge of my seat - in a safe place. I'm not usually a risk taker.... But I have always enjoyed hero types, just like any other person. I would highly recommend this movie, I took my parents. (I am 49). After watching the rough walkin' and talkin' heros many might feel these peple were too laid back but the humor, adventure and love portrayed here as well as the idea that some subjects (ghosts of our past) are hard to face - (we'd rather 'climb a mountain') - God is in control and He chooses the time wisely when we must face our challenges and change our lives.

Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2000
From: D. L. Porter

I frequent this site quite often and am glad for it. I saw Vertical Limit, and agree with the review--however, there were a few points that were not made (I know all of then cannot be covered). The movie had several points where the aspects of reconciliation and forgiveness were key. The storyline between the brother and the sister was about seeking reconciliation and ultimately forgiveness. By the movie's end, both had extended forgiveness: the sister to her brother for her fathers death, and the brother to himself for the same reason. Also, Montgomery Wick (Scott Glenn), who intends to kill Elliot Vaughn (Bill Paxton) for his wife's death, in his own way, extends forgiveness. Jesus teaches that we must forgive to be forgiven(Matthew 6:14,15).

I also liked the fact the Middle Eastern men in the movie were shown in a good light, as giving and friendly, and not the terrorist that hollywood have so often made then out to be.
D. L. Porter

VERTICAL LIMIT © 2000 Columbia Pictures