Touching The Void

Touching_the_void get Touching the Void

Year: 2003

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Writer: Joe Simpson (book)

Budget: ?

Domestic Gross: $4 581 222

i have heard it said many times that the most dangerous part of climbing a mountain is coming down.  Touching The Void is a film that puts that statement in its most harrowing context like no other film you have ever seen.

directed by kevin macdonald ,Touching The Void is a documentary based on the true life adventure of british mountain climbers joe simpson and simon yates in 1985 when they attempted to scale the never-before-conquered 21 000 foot siula grande mountains of peru.  they reached the summit no problem but on the way down things went very wrong.  i really don't want to give to much away, but to say that it all starts to go wrong when simpson shatters his leg and yates is eventually put in a situation where he is forced to make a life altering decision.  just thinking about it is making me anxious.  the events that follow that fateful decision are so incredible and scary and uplifting all at the same time they will make you believe like few other films in the power of the human spirit - i know that is one of those cheesy 'reviewer pull quotes' but in this case it is true.

the film is based on the novel written by simpson about that fateful climb and had been in circulation to be made into a feature film for years.  however no one could ever figure out how exactly to go about making it and i can see why.  so much of the story is about the inner monologue of these two characters and making it as a feature 'fiction' film would have lost all that and probably made for a pretty mediocre movie.

what macdonald did though, being a documentary film maker, he came at it from a documentary point of view and got it just right.  the film plays out with joe simpson and simon yates providing the commentary to their story while their adventure is being recreated by two actors.  i know it sounds a little sketchy - but these are not the corny re-enactments you see on dateline nbc or 48 hours.  this is a well shot film that has some great cinematography and creates a mood as good as any fictional mountain movie hollywood has put out. 

to listen to the actual participants tell you what happened and what was going on in their heads throughout the entire journey while you watch it unfold on the screen in front of you is the perfect way to make the story into a movie.  i can't imagine it any other way and once you see it neither will you. those of you looking to go on a true and gripping mountain adventure, forget about Cliffhanger or Vertical Limit and remember Touching The Void.

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