I am ambivalent about films and stories about men and women who unnecessarily risk their lives, on mountains, in cars, under water– for… well, that’s the question. For what?
Almost no documentary or book about these individuals would dare suggest that these people are selfish, self-centred individuals interested primarily in self-promotion and ego gratification. (I make an exception for “Into Thin Air”, the amazing book by Jon Krakauer which considers the issue at some length.) Think about why that’s so. Why doesn’t “The Last Mountain”, for example, seriously consider the issue?
Could that be because the viewer, who adores these stories, would feel implicated? I get pleasure by watching other people put themselves in grave peril at the expense, sometimes, of their lives? Could it be because the writers (often the daredevils themselves) or film-makers (ditto) really want you to believe they are doing something important and admirable? Think of how often they claim there is some higher purpose to their activities: to learn more about sharks, to extend human endurance and achievement, to fulfill personal goals?