Bought this for OH, reviews are excellent.
Nectar points as well.
To describe Touching the Void as a mountaineering documentary would be to do this breathtaking drama an injustice. By intercutting narration from the climbers themselves with a nail-biting reconstruction of their remarkable adventure in the Peruvian Andes, the film has the best of both genres: the authentic stamp of factual storytelling and the edge-of-the-seat tension of a dramatic movie.
In 1985, two British mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, embarked on a daring--arguably reckless in the extreme--attempt to climb the previously unconquered mountain Suila Grande. A mixture of overconfidence in their own abilities and underestimation of the climb's difficulties brought them to grief after the successful slog to the summit. What follows is an often harrowing account of their perilous descent, during which Joe horribly shatters his leg and Simon is forced to cut the support rope on which Joe's life, quite literally, is hanging by the proverbial thread. It's no secret that both climbers lived to tell the tale, but at every stage the audience will be left guessing just how the crippled Simpson could possibly have found the inner strength to surmount each deadly trial.
Based on Joe Simpson's gripping book, the film boasts glorious widescreen photography of Suila Grande and its notorious glacier. Actors take the place of the two climbers for close-ups, though Simpson did return to Peru in order to re-enact parts of his dreadful crawl back down the ice. The story of Simpson's almost superhuman fortitude has become legendary in climbing circles, and even for viewers uninterested in mountaineering, Touching the Void is an astonishing slice of real-life drama, magnificently retold.
On the DVD: Touching the Void is presented on disc in anamorphic widescreen, which makes the most of the glorious vistas, and Dolby 5.1 sound. The two extras are fairly short but both are invaluable appendices to the main feature: What Happened Next tells in their own words how the team made it back home; while Return to Suila Grande finds both Joe and Simon back at the mountain in the summer of 2002 to advise on the filming; emotions are mixed at best, as Simon seems unable to express his real feelings about the experience, and Joe finds himself painfully reliving the ordeal in his mind, as well as in front of the cameras. --Mark Walker
Bringing to life Joe Simpson's book of the same name, TOUCHING THE VOID details the near-death experience he endured during a 1985 attempt to climb the only mountain in the Peruvian Andes that had not been scaled--the 21,000-foot Siula Grande. With his partner Simon Yates, Simpson successfully reached the peak after a three-day climb. During the descent, however, he fell and shattered several bones in his right leg. Yates attempted to lower Simpson down the mountain 300 feet at a time, but the process was slow and painful for both men. With no food or water, they would both surely die--which left Yates with a painful choice to make--cutting Simpson loose, thus ensuring at least his own survival. This was only the beginning of Simpson's mind-boggling odyssey.
Director Kevin McDonald (ONE DAY IN SEPTEMBER) tells this compelling story by combining talking-head interviews with Simpson and Yates and stunningly photographed narrative footage--in which Simpson and Yates' ordeal is actually re-enacted on Siula Grande. McDonald's re-enactment footage is both engrossing and eye-popping and it could easily stand alone as its own one-of-a-kind adventure film. The interviews, however, add depth that make this a unique, thrilling, and emotional piece of cinema.