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Critics often fault Alive with petty complaints: Gee, wasn't the avalanche
convenient plot device? Why didn't the plane have signal flares? How come
the survivors were all those pretty boys? Why don't we see the dramatic
search? In doing so, they're faulting reality: The avalanche really did
happen when and how it was portrayed. The wreckage really did lack signal
flares. The plane really was chartered by a bunch of ruggedly handsome
men -- what else do you expect from a rugby team? And yes, the search was
dramatic (the moment when Roberta Cannessa's father learned that his son
alive is one of those stranger-than-fiction moments), but it was enough of
task to compress the survivors' story into a feature film. The search
have comprised another film entirely on its own.
How do you compress nearly three months of terror and tedium into less than two hours while still holding the attention of the audience? It's a daunting task, and Alive manages quite nicely. With technical consulting provided by crash survivor Nando Parrado, Alive captures the look and mood of the crash site, and sketches in the relationships among the passengers of the ill-fated flight.
It leaves many strange questions hanging (Where, in this plane full of mostly unmarried adults, does Nando come up with two tiny red sneakers?) and those questions are best answered by reading the book. And watch Alive again. Things become clearer with multiple viewings.
I first saw the film "Alive" on video. I really wish I had seen it in the theater as it was probably one of the better films to come out around that time. I thought it was well shot, well acted and the fact that the real survivors were on hand as technical advisors showed me that the film was as accurate as it could be. One of the frustrations Ive come across in discussing this film is when you mention it to someone, and their immediate response is "isn't that the movie where they all eat each other?"...obviously, these people latched on to one small part of the story, and feel it is the basis for the entire movie. I found "Alive" to be more of an uplifting story. Sure, there's cannibalism involved, but in the 2 hours the film takes, cannibalism is focused on for approximately 10-15 minutes. I, instead, found myself moved by the determination of these young boys to survive. The plane crash, the avalanche, starvation, illness...all insurmountable odds stacking themselves against them, and they STILL found the strength to preserve their own lives. Alive as a movie about cannibalism? No. It is an example of the human spirit, and (I use the term again) an uplifting film with many touching moments. In closing, I borrow a line from the film..."If I die, you can eat me". :-)
I can remember reading the book on which this story was based many years ago
when I was in High School and being engrossed by the story. The movie
version is no less engrossing, the entire story being made absolutely
gut-wrenching by the fact that it's true. A South American rugby team is
stranded in the remote heights of the Andes after a plane crash and has to
find a way to survive the freezing temperatures, their injuries and a
variety of other challenges (not the least of which is a lack of food.) The
acting in it is good, but the situation itself becomes the focus rather than
the actors, and so I can't really say that anyone in particular stood out to
me, but that doesn't come across as a weakness here. After all, the story of
survival was a story of teamwork; a "star" to the movie would have detracted
This is literally gut-wrenching stuff, and I'm surprised it doesn't have a higher rating. It is not an easy movie to watch at times. The injuries are graphically portrayed, the suffering of the injured very realistic and the ultimate solution to the food problem will upset some people (but, in spite of what I've heard some say about this movie, it isn't the focus of the story. It's just an example of what had to be done to survive in an impossible situation.) It also has a surprisingly strong spiritual component to it.
The very concept that this film is based on a true story makes it great. When you watch it you can't help but wonder what you would do in their situation. You want to think that you wouldn't, but then you think of their situation. After watching this movie the whole cannibalism thing sticks in your head, but you really should look at the whole movie. It really is a great story and is uplifting. I know Roger Ebert doesn't think that this movie really shows, what it would be like to be stranded there for 70+ days, but I don't think any movie truly could. But Alive gets really close at doing that, they just keep getting in one bad situation after the other. It really shows how strong the human spirit is. I give it a 10/10!
"Alive" is the kind of movie that you wouldn't believe if you didn't
know in advance that it was based on true events. If you didn't know
better, you would say it was all made up by some scenarist with too
much of inspiration, looking for a spectacular and sometimes shocking
script. But unfortunately enough it all really happened, which makes
the movie interesting to watch.
For those who don't know the story yet, it is based on what happened to the Uruguayan rugby team during and after their plane crash in the middle of the Andes mountains in 1972. Some of them survive the initial crash, some wounded, others only with some minor scratches. They pray that they will soon be found, but no search team is coming to rescue them. At first they keep themselves alive by eating what they find in the luggage of the passengers, but soon that food is also gone. If they don't eat, they will all die. And they need to gain strength, because they need to try to get help themselves. There is only one horrible solution: they will have to eat the dead people...
Despite the fact that this may sound horrible to many, I must say that it isn't as bad as you may think. Of course you'll see them cut a piece out of the bodies and eat it, but it is done in a watchable way. I'm sure that only the very faint of heart will not be able to watch it. It's a part of the story, but it is never shown in a too spectacular or sensational way.
All in all this is a very interesting movie. I asked myself several times: 'What would you do if you were in that situation? Would you eat it or not?' I'm not sure, but I guess I would, but that's not why I tell you this. Just the fact that I was able to think about it in this way shows that it wasn't too bloody or with too much gore (I really don't like that). That's why I reward this movie with a 7.5/10.
Alive is a great movie experience. It is based on a true event in 1972 and on the narrative book by Piers Paul Read. It's about a Uraguayan college rugby team whose chartered airplane crashed deep in the icy Andes Mountains while on its way to a game in Santiago, Chile. Reeling with disbelief and shock and bleeding from dozens of wounds, the passengers who lived through the crash are faced with the brutal elements, starvation and the horror that they may never be found alive. The cast is terrific: Ethan Hawke as Nando, the levelheaded, determined leader; Vincent Spano as desperate Antonio, whose optimism slowly crumbles under the weight of hopelessness; Josh Hamilton as medical student Roberto, who tirelessly treats gangrenous wounds knowing his ministrations are useless; and especially Bruce Ramsay as Carlitos, whose unwavering faith in God and his sense of dark humor ("If you eat me, will you promise to clean your plates?") acts as the glue that holds this wet, shivering clump of survivors together. You indeed can feel the cold and the misery as you watch these poor people wade through waist deep snow, endure a nightmarish avalanche, spend days at a time soaked to their skins in minus forty degree winds, and face the ultimate decision that will make or break them physically, emotionally and spiritually: whether or not they can bring themselves to eat the bodies of friends and relatives who did not survive the crash. Everything in this movie, from James Newton Howard's touching music score to the unbeatable cinematography showing the majesty and severity of the Andes, is beautiful and flawless. This movie is one I'd recommend to anyone who wants an exciting, touching, unforgettable movie to chew on for years to come.
Frank Marshall's "Alive" is one of the most beautiful films I have ever
seen, a tale of great courage and human ingenuity.
Although the story was filmed previously (and cheaply) by Rene Cardona as "Survive", this retelling is superior in every department and resonates with me years after I first saw it at the cinema.
James Newton Howard's score is truly beautiful and incredibly powerful for its ability to convey both the hopelessness of the situation (trying to survive in the Andes) and the awesome wonder of such a savage land. In fact, the score takes the film from very good to great.
The rendering of Schubert's "Ave Maria" over the rousing climax, with its superbly lensed images by Peter Levy, is one of cinema's most emotional, transporting moments.
Given the knowledge from the onset of the movie that the story and characters are real, we are plunged into a world where man must choose whether or not he wants to survive and live to see the world as he knows it once more. The reality i felt when watching this movie was how easily we take for granted things like food to eat, clean clothes to wear, and warmth that comes from blankets and heaters. By the middle of the movie (when watching it last night after nearly 10 years) i was aghast at the sheer strength of some of all of the people that survived the initial crash of the actual plane. And when the deciding moment arrives where they must choose whether they are willing to eat human flesh to survive and find a way beyond the Andes, I found i asked myself 'what would you do?'. The answer is, i don't know. i truly don't. This movie makes you realise how precious life is, and how we should never take anything for granted. How we should be thankful of all that we have, and yet how easy it is to lose all that just by a bad twist of fate. Call this movie what you will, I think it's a must-see for everyone because it really happened. There are lessons to be learned, morals to be recognised, and questions to be asked and somehow solved. Each person/character you will encounter in this movie is unique which makes it all the more worthwhile to watch. Because you find yourself sympathetic with the viewpoints of all the men and women in the movie yet at the same time questioning what decision you would make if you were in their place. Maybe we never will know or understand what they went through. But by watching this movie and reading the book, it will help us become wiser people and possibly open our minds to the endless enigma that is life, God, and the vastness and emptiness of the world that lies not so beyond our reach.
I would like to say how powerful the movie is. Being forced into a circumstance where you are being tested constantly in order to survive for 72 days. I thought that the acting in such a disaster film was expressed decently. Although critics and viewers(why then did you waste your money?) nitpick the dialogue, it ran smoothly in the compressed time given. Exactly how would you pass the time in conversation if you survived the plane crash, freezing temperatures, hunger and watching other people die in front you for 72 days? I don't think the dialogue was that bad, considering the time slot and trying to keep the story interesting for its two hours. When I first saw it, I was shocked by the plane crash sequence. I first thought it was all about cannibalism-like the Donner party- but it wasn't. It was more about keeping hope alive and working together even when despair and dying seems easier to give in to. What the rugby teammates did under the circumstances was incredible until they made the solution to hike out and get help. I haven't read the book its based on, yet I read a little about the actual people who went through the ordeal. There are similarities and contrasts with the real-life story and the movie. I appreciate the movie after seeing several times and the actual story behind it. I think it's one of the most fantastic films that I have seen.
If you want a movie which demonstrates the determination of humankind and fight for survival, "Alive" is the movie for you. I have seen this movie many times and even though they do eat flesh from their dead team mates the sight isn't repulsive. You want them to do what they can to survive and you admire their great courage to perform such a discouraged act. What they do is considered uncivilized, but in this movie I feel that it isn't. It took great courage for the men to do what they had to do and pushed to a similar extreme, any of us is likely to do the same. No one can say they wouldn't for sure, you wouldn't know unless you face a similar situation. The scenery is terrific, the special effects are good and worth seeing. The actors went to extrodinary lengths to look the part and they all played their parts extremely well and handled the roles sympathetically. Top grade movie all round!
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