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Monday, May 23, 2011

Touching The Void - Climbing Mockumentary Documentary Survival Film Review

Touching the Void is a 2003 film that focuses on mountain climber Joe Simpon's seemingly impossible survival. Simpson is left for dead on the side of a mountain. In order to escape the mountain he must decend, badly injured, with no food, no water, and completely exposed to the harsh elements of the Sivla Grande in Peru.  It is a true story based on a book written by Joe Simpson about his experience.

I very much enjoy mountaineering documentary films and outdoor documentary films in general.  Into Thin Air, Into the Wild, and 127 hours in spite of their tragic stories,inspire a sort of rugged individualism in me that I, of course, never act upon but relish vicariously anyway.  Touching the Void is one of  those beautiful films and one of the best I have ever seen.

Touching the Void is part documentary, part mockumentary. The mockumentary is, of course, the actual reenactment of the difficult climb and brutal accent of Silva Grande.    The beauty of the film is that I sometimes forgot that the mockumentary portion is actually a reenactment. It feels that real.  The film really taps into every horror imaginable about dying alone, including overcoming the will to just simply die rather than suffer for survival any longer.

The accounts by Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates are very raw, honest and in some ways, without sympathy for their decisions or each other.  They are true mountaineering professionals who understand the risks and realize there are acceptable loses in a sport with no room for error.

I have watched the movie a couple of times and really enjoy it.  Touching the Void takes it's time but it doesn't not drag.  Good pace and very, very believably acted by the actors during the mockumentary portion.

If you remotely enjoy climbing or this type of film, watch it.  Touching the Void is bound to be a classic survivor film to be watched for years to come.

Rated R
94 Minutes

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