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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, 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
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 »
I wish to put my cards on the table and say I am completely unable to understand why someone wants to climb up a twenty thousand foot mountain . I do confess to enjoying hill walking but only if the hills aren't very high , and only if it's a beautiful evening where I can see the golden Summer sunlight shine upon a breathtaking Scottish landscape . I have very little if any sympathy for people who decide it's a great idea to go trekking across the Scottish Highlands in the middle of January and have to use their mobile phone to call out the mountain rescue when they get lost in a blizzard . If it was up to me I'd just leave them there until Spring . This cruel attitude doesn't extend to the protagonists of TOUCHING THE VOID Joe Simpson and Simon Yates since they are very professional in their attitude but the over riding thought while watching this was - Why ? Why ? Why ?
This is the problem I had with TOUCHING THE VOID , it was rather hyped up as a docu-drama that would appeal to a mainstream audience and not just to people who are interested in mountain climbing . The trailers on Channel 4 that had been running almost non stop for two weeks were the worst culprits . Yes you can enjoy the real life man against the elements adventure but it becomes rather irritating as there's often little explanation to details . For example did Joe or Simon explain why they enjoy yomping about the Andes ? One of them mentions that having a rope tied around climbers can lead to the death of not only someone who falls but also someone who is attached to them . You've seen this happen in movies like THE EIGER SANCTION and VERTICAL LIMIT where someone falls from the rock face taking their companion to their death which always leads me to ask " Why do climbers attach ropes to themselves if that's the case ? " but this is never answered which led me to conclude that the target audience would need a basic knowledge of mountain climbing in order to enjoy TOUCHING THE VOID completely . The trailers also pointed out that this incident totally divided the mountaineering community but again there's little explanation why and we wouldn't have known this at all if a caption hadn't appeared at the end pointing this out . Very disappointingly it never goes into detail about the present day relationship between Joe and Simon . Do they still go drinking together or climb mountains as a two part team ?
Not to be too negative the docu-drama format is undoubtedly the best medium to tell this type of story , if it'd been filmed as a feature film we'd have had to put up with a couple of Hollywood hunks acting all tough and macho and spending large parts of the movie without any dialogue to explain what was going on . There is some astounding cinematography of the natural beauty of mountain landscapes ( I'm glad I have a widescreen TV ) and get ready for the most bizarre use of a Boney M pop track you will ever see
I gave TOUCHING THE VOID seven out of Ten . I might have awarded it slightly more but because Channel 4 had been shoving the trailers in our face as to how good it was I ended up being just a little disappointed by it
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