Movie review of “Meru”: A nerve-racking documentary about not one but two attempts, by the same trio of climbers, to ascend Mount Meru in India. Rating: 4 stars out of 4.

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A viewer expects some high drama in a documentary about scaling one of the world’s most challenging mountains. What you might not expect is feeling the impulse to sink into your chair in a state of dread, muttering to the climbers, “No, no, no … please don’t do this.”

That’s an understandable reaction while watching “Meru,” a startling journal of not one but two attempts, by the same trio of climbers over a period of years, to summit Mount Meru in Northern India. With its peak at 21,000 feet and its rise so severely sheer that Meru’s hardest part is called the Shark’s Fin, the mountain resembles a narrowing wall topped by a few stacked rocks.

Of course, the more forbidding an ascent, the greater its appeal to masters of the form. In 2008, a couple of elite climbers, Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker, were joined by rising star Renan Ozturk in an attempt on Meru. Captured on video by Chin and Ozturk (rather than an off-camera crew, which is usually the case in these films), the personal perspective and breathtaking immediacy of the climbers’ daily challenges pull an audience in.

Movie Review ★★★★  

‘Meru,’ a documentary directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. 90 minutes. Rated R for language. Guild 45th, Lincoln Square.

Climbers Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk will be in attendance for a Q&A at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, at the Guild 45th.

It’s not a spoiler to say the first climb did not end ideally, nor that in its aftermath some shockingly hard times befell the team. By any logical measure, re-climbing Meru for this crew is a potentially disastrous, squirm-worthy idea — but therein is the unique tale in this film.

Author Jon Krakauer (“Into Thin Air”) is on hand to help put things into context. A nice plus in “Meru” is a computer effect used sparingly: a long shot of the mountain at night with the tiniest light glowing on it from a helmet, telling us exactly where these guys are on the enormous slab of ice and granite. Talk about a glimpse of the seemingly impossible.