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The Beckoning Silence (2007)

PG | | Drama | TV Movie 22 October 2007
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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Cast

Credited cast:
Roger Schäli ...
Toni Kurz
Simon Anthamatten ...
Andreas Hinterstoisser
Andreas Abegglen ...
Willy Angerer
Cyrille Berthod ...
Edi Rainier
...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Joe Simpson ...
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Storyline

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 close to death, did he feel compelled to continue climbing?

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Drama

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22 October 2007 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Drama in der Eiger-Nordwand  »

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Goofs

In the reenactment of the "traverse" between the Rote Fluh and the First Ice Field, numerous modern bolts can be seen in the rock. See more »

Quotes

Joe Simpson: This mountain, it's quite addictive. I've made six attempts on the face and got bad weather every single time. But it calls you. It... You know, I sort of had this phrase,'The Beckoning silence of great height' and what I was meaning by that was when you stand on the edge of a great drop, it's very difficult not to be absolutely staggered by it. When you look at a face like that and you're a mountaineer, you just want to go up there and play games on it.
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Connections

Follows Touching the Void (2003) See more »

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Another magnificent Man v. Mountain where Mountain wins.
25 February 2017 | by See all my reviews

*This review contains spoilers*

The Docu-Movie Touching the Void is the Godfather of all mountain climbing movies. Just watching this movie turned Roger Ebert into a quivering, blubbering mess. Touching the Void is a Docu-drama based on the calamitous events that occurred when Joe Simpson and Simon Yates attempted to ascend and descend the Siula Grande in Peru. Beyond all odds, Joe Simpson somehow survived this ordeal where he was presumed to be dead, in a reenactment that must be seen to be believed. Joe lost 1/3 of his body weight and the injuries to his leg were so severe that they required multiple surgeries over a period of 2 years. He was told that he would be lucky to ever walk again, much less climb. He did walk again and he did climb. He also wrote a couple of books and made two mind-blowing documentaries about mountain climbing tragedies. The Beckoning Silence (2007) is one of them.

In The Beckoning Silence Joe Simpson traveled to the North Face of The Eiger to give an account of one of mountaineering's most deadly tragedies. This tragedy was the ill-fated expedition of Toni Kurz and his 3 companions in 1936. Joe Simpson methodically and carefully sets the stage for what will be a totally catastrophic revelation of horror midway through the documentary. Joe Simpson had been there before. Not at this exact time and place, but in about as a precarious and hopeless dilemma as you could ever rip from the bowels of an icy hell. I didn't want to watch it anymore. I wanted to just turn it off and look away, but I didn't. From the mid-point on, the viewer is riveted to this train wreck in the Alps, and yes, there is a train that plays a part in this real-life horror show.

After the nightmarish and harrowing ordeal that he went through in Peru, for Joe Simpson to even write about the disaster of Eiger is amazing, much less to make a documentary about it. It was even more astounding for him to actually climb this mountain to the point where these four men died…I just don't have the words to describe this. This guy has a set that would make John Holmes look like a eunuch, but that's another story. The re-enactment by the actors was superb, as well as excruciatingly painful to watch, as you already know the outcome. The unforgiving attributes of Mother Nature were well known, and never had they been more unsympathetic than with this alpine terrain and its weather. Mother Nature has no Fairness Doctrine, only the cold, hard physics of the atmosphere and its lapidary counterparts. Granite is hard, water freezes at 0 degrees C., it is cold and slick, and gravity asserts itself every single time.

Inches and details count, and Toni Kurz was only yards away from his rescuers when a knotty problem sealed his destiny with The Grim Reaper. I know that I have previously shown disdain for mountain climbers, and this outcome was very hard to watch and to accept, but it happened. This event had a significant impact on Joe Simpson and helped shape his life. "Why him and not me?" has never been a more soul-piercing reflection for Joe, who also dangled and danced with death at the end of a rope, while staring into the void below. If you believe in God, destiny, benevolent karma and fair play, don't watch this movie. If you want to see what nature is capable of, with with no malevolent intent whatsoever, watch this documentary.


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