A peak experience

Viewers who are afraid of heights might want to stay home, but everyone else is likely to find “Mountain’’ (⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars, rated PG for perilous situations) exhilarating. This Australian documentary looks at many of the world’s highest — and most gorgeously photogenic — peaks and the intrepid sorts who set out to conquer them. For much of the film’s 74 minutes, we feel giddily airborne, with gliding shots of magnificent and often snowy peaks, sometimes traversed by one or more tiny specks that turn out to be humans. The overall tone is awed and laudatory, which might rub some viewers the wrong way. But the narration, by Willem Dafoe, doesn’t entirely ignore critics who lament the destructive environmental effects of using mountains for sport by people motivated by a combination of narcissism and nihilism. It’s showing at the Uptown Theater.

walter addiego, San Francisco Chronicle