Ever in search of new mad adventurers to catch his fancy, Werner Herzog has found them among mountain climbers for his latest South American epic, scream of Stone. While it does feature some spectacular mountain photography in an area of the world few will ever see first-hand, the dramatic and psychological aspects remain so obscure as to become silly.
Clumsy prolog introduces two champion climbers. Martin (Vittorio Mezzogiorno) is a young hotshot who, for two years running, has won a televised indoor event by scaling an artificial cliff. Roger (Stefan Glowacz), an older man and a quintessentially Herzogian figure, is the world-class climbing master who scoffs at Martin as a mere ‘acrobat’.
Roger accepts a challenge to climb what he regards as the toughest peak in the world, a needlelike peak in Patagonia that he has tried and failed to conquer twice before. Accompanied by journalist Donald Sutherland, the rivals and their entourages assemble in Argentina and commence to wait around for ideal conditions for their climb.
Pic is poorly, sometimes laughably acted by an international cast playing uniquely dour, shallow, self-absorbed characters. But once the cameras get above ground level, Herzog offers quite a bit worth looking at.