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An engrossing re-enaction that exceeded original expectations
Touching The Void (DVD)
Member Name: IzzyS
Touching The Void (DVD)
Advantages: Cinematography, haunting classical score, good performances, suspenseful/its a true story
Disadvantages: The ending is perhaps a little abrupt
- Story -
Touching The Void tells the true story of a couple of young mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, who vow to climb to the summit of Siula Grande back in 1985, a large mountain in Peru - this being a feat that had previously never been achieved before. Inbetween scenes recreating this journey are scenes whereby Joe and Simon narrate to camera, keeping the true story side of it very much alive. Unfortunately, not everything goes to plan and Joe sustains a fairly severe injury to his leg following by Simon mistakenly believing that Joe has gone for good and he makes the decision to carry on without him. Joe is actually alive and so has to make the perilous journey to rejoin him on his own which is no mean feat!. What happens and can his leg be saved? you'll have to watch the movie to find out
- Thoughts & Opinions -
When the movie first started, I somehow felt a bit disappointed that this movie clearly wasn't a really big bdget action drama type movie and yet I was wrong - I feared that it'd become a rather bland, somewhat slow documentary charting two people slowly climbing a mountain and that I'd lose interest possibly mid way through but I now feel quite guilty for almost writing it off as such.
While watching the film, I noticed the use of the classical score which I appreciated as it really brings home the desperation felt by the two main characters and make it more moving. The lack of any score in some parts brings home the sheer isolation that was clearly felt and you can see the reaction of the men during the shots of them narrating to camera which again can be quite intense and emotive. Hearing them talk individually about where they thought they stood (no pun intended) in terms of their position to one another and their waning contact with one another, is really quite frustrating, as we see their actions played out on screen in between narration screens. There really is a strong sense of sheer abandonment which carries on throughout the movie, its quite chilling hearing Joe's depserate cries as he believes he's done for and hearing the echoes bounce back, while also having Joe explain to camera his state of mind at the time, explaining his thought and actions. Its quite uncomfortable viewing in parts, especially when the injury occurs, which isn't graphic but you can clearly hear the sheer pain in his voice, which is obviously quite uncomfortable to hear, particularly when you know that this is what really happened - 127 hours this isn't but its still unsettling nonetheless and probably not one for the very squeamish. Towards the end of the movie, things get more intense and there are some scenes of presumed hallucinations, mostly disorientation, so be aware of that. Obviously this has a 15 rating for fairly obvious reasons, I wouldn't recommend playing it with children around, although it probably wouldn't interest them at first but it does become quite engrossing and a bit disturbing in a sense if they were to watch it with you.
What particularly adds to the atmosphere of this movie isn't just the classical score and the narration scenes where the men themselves speak and emote to camera their state of minds but also the cinematography. There are some impressive scenes that really give the viewer an idea of how large the mountain/mountain range is, long sweeping landscape shots of the area that makes you realise how tiny they must have appeared from all the way up there in the sky - there are also other shots that are the opposite, that give you a sense from the ground up in terms of what they've achieved and the sheer scale of what they had left to accomplish. Given these scenes, particularly at the start of the movie, it made me wish I had a larger size screen to watch this on, as im sure it'd look alot more impressive on a large screen.
This is a movie where you seriously wish that you could intervene, while at the same time I felt some admiration for Joe for him really clinging on to life, having such a strong will but on the other hand, I suppose the film also highlights the foolhardiness these men had. I suppose this is a movie that most mountaineers should watch at some point or another, if it'll make people think twice about taking on such climbs or whatnot, maybe thats a good thing(?), mind you I get the feeling with the way adrenalin works and some peoples determination, it would take a minor miracle to stop some people from doing what they want...
This is a film that at first you somehow don't expect too much from, it seems almost like a regular documentary about two guys setting out to climb a mountain but it does become really quite engrossing, a gripping and quite moving movie. If there's any real criticism to be had, as far as im concerned, I'd say it'd be that the ending is a bit quick - while there's text on screen which gives some brief detail about what happened afterwards, it does seem to end rather abruptly.
- Would I Recommend It? -
Overall I can't fault the performances, the special effects and especially the cinematography. The atmosphere this film creates is somewhat intense at times and its definitely a cut above other documentaries/films. The only reasons to not reccomend this film, I feel, would be if your particularly squeamish or would find it distressing - it isn't what I'd call overly graphic but of course there are the inevitable scenes that are uncomfortable to watch, thats what makes it all the more authentic and real, which will appeal to some, even most viewers but for others, it may not be their 'thing''. If this doesn't apply then yes, of course I'd recommend this.
Thanks for reading my review, as always I hope you found it useful. Thanks for all rates and comments, I appreciate them. This review was originally posted on Ciao UK.
Summary: An engrossing docu-movie thats well worth a watch