Touching the Void (2004)
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Critic Reviews for Touching the Void
In the right hands, a docudrama can deliver all the excitement, emotion and storytelling of the very best feature films -- and director Kevin Macdonald has done that with startling clarity in the mountaineering adventure Touching the Void.
Touching the Void leaves you emotionally and physically spent, and grateful it was only a movie, not a mountain, you had to endure.
As a meditation on extreme human endeavour, character, friendship and the mysteries revealed by facing death, it provides much food for thought.
Most movies of this type re-create the action far from the actual scene of the crime, but Macdonald has invented a new subgenre: a docudrama in which the docu and the drama are equally authentic.
Audience Reviews for Touching the Void
Mixing interviews with the real participants and reenactments of the event, this documentary/docudrama tells the story of a mountain-climbing pair struggling to survive after one of them breaks his leg. It takes a while for this film to get interesting -- about forty-five minutes. And once it does, it's a decent survival story along the lines of 127 Hours. However, I found the reenactments to be trite because they didn't add much to the story the interviewees told, and the story the interviewees told isn't unique in their language or revelation about their characters. I guess what I'm saying is that I wish the film had found a middle ground in which the reenactments could show, not tell, and the interviews could teach us more about who these people really are and what it takes to survive such an ordeal. The one exception to this is Joe's line: "You gotta keep making decisions, even if they're wrong decisions, you know. If you don't make decisions, you're stuffed." Overall, as survival stories go, Touching the Void is good but not great.
"You gotta make decisions. You gotta keep making decisions, even if they're wrong decisions, you know. If you don't make decisions, you're stuffed." The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.
I had no idea of the places I was going to go. I'll spoil the first 15 minutes: they already reach the top. The "void?" That's touched on the way down. Halfway into the movie, I couldn't see how everyone is alive to tell the tale. The three men involved in this story masterfully narrate their perspectives, bravely offering us an intimate look into their (our) sometimes-unflattering human nature. It is clear from 18 years of telling this story that they know just what we want to know, and they know just how to tell it. They are still emotional -- it seems likely that they suffer from some level of post-traumatic stress. Kevin Macdonald did a perfect job recreating the events and putting us right into the chaos of their experience. I am in awe.
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