After a near-death mountain climbing accident, Joe Simpson's injuries were so severe he was told he'd never climb again. His recovery left him to confront the question: why, after coming so... See full summary »
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In the mid-80's two young climbers attempted to reach the summit of Siula Grande in Peru; a feat that had previously been attempted but never achieved. With an extra man looking after base camp, Simon and Joe set off to scale the mount in one long push over several days. The peak is reached within three days, however on the descent Joe falls and breaks his leg. Despite what it means, the two continue with Simon letting Joe out on a rope for 300 meters, then descending to join him and so on. However when Joe goes out over an overhang with no way of climbing back up, Simon makes the decision to cut the rope. Joe falls into a crevasse and Simon, assuming him dead, continues back down. Joe however survives the fall and was lucky to hit a ledge in the crevasse. This is the story of how he got back down. Written by
bob the moo
Some of the long distance shots of Simon and Joe climbing the mountain are played not by the lead actors, but by body doubles, who were Simon Yates and Joe Simpson themselves. See more »
Commenting his descent deeper into the break, Joe says, "I didn't put a knot into the end of the rope. If there was nothing down there, I would fall, and it would be quick." Two minutes before (approx. at 54:30) he is throwing the end of the rope into that break, and as it falls, we see clearly that the knot is properly tied at the end. Just as safety rules prescribe. See more »
During the first part of the closing credits (before the crawl), the credits are accompanied by black-and-white pictures showing the three men's journey back into civilization; the final picture is of Joe in the hospital. See more »
Beautiful scenery and excellent cinematography highlight this true-life story of two young adventurers who, in 1985, attempt to be the first climbers to reach the top of imposing Siula Grande, in Peru. The two actual climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, narrate the story, while two stand-in actors re-enact the climbing.
A big part of the film is Joe's quest merely to survive, once he becomes separated from Simon. Toward this objective, he calls forth inner strength in the form of two mental processes: first, make a decision and then act on it; second, set small goals or targets. During his ordeal a part of him keeps pushing: "You have to do this, this, and this, if you're going to get there; come on, keep moving, keep moving; right, get up, and do it again".
In a docudrama like this, acting ability is not that important. What is important is the cinematography. The mountain scenery is spectacular. The camera also captures visual perspective, by backing away from the two climbers, or Joe alone in the second half, to reveal how small and insignificant they are against the towering mountain face, or lost within the vast expanse of a huge glacier, peppered with a maze of dangerous crevasses.
The story is certainly harrowing. And I admire how Joe kept going, in the face of such adversity. However, I must say that overall I was not impressed with Simpson or Yates, both of whom came across in the film and in the DVD special features as overly ambitious, opportunistic, and egotistical. Joe as much as admits it: "We didn't give a damn about anyone else or anything else, and we just wanted to climb the world ..." This kind of cavalier attitude is not uncommon among participants in extreme sports, many of whom participate less for the adventure than for the opportunity to set records and make money.
"Touching The Void" is a great story of survival set amid the majestic splendor of the mountains of Peru. The only thing that would have made the story even better is if the two actual climbers had not been so arrogant. Overconfidence, born of an inflated sense of self-importance, almost cost them their lives.
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