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Movie Review: Touching the Void

Alternate Title: Climb Every Mountain

Story: Director Kevin MacDonald (Oscar winning, One Day in September) does a fabulous job in recreating the harrowing ordeal faced by two young British climbers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, as they attempted to be the first to climb the 21,000 foot Siula Grande in Peru in 1985. Based on the book by one of the climbers, Joe Simpson, he recreates in all too real detail their successful climb and then their descent into hell on the return trip down the mountain.

The film becomes more than an adventure film. It turns into a moral dilemma for one of the climbers as he makes the decision to cut the rope of his partner after he breaks his leg at 18,000 feet seemingly sending him to his death below. How they both manage to individually get down the mountain is gripping, nail biting (even though we already know the conclusion) and very real.

The courage and will depicted on screen will stick with you for quite a while.

Acting: The real life men, of course, played themselves and the fellows playing them as they were fifteen years ago, Brendan Mackey and Nicholas Aaron were right for the parts. Their pain and struggle were more then we could stand at times.

Predilections: I like films about survival and I like documentaries,

Critters: Two donkeys and a few bugs.

Food: Lack of food was part of their dilemma as they only took enough food for a two day round trip.

Visual Art: The Andes are knock your socks and crampons off beautiful.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: An interesting blend of music including a tune by Boney M that one of the characters could not get out of his head. I thought the angelic sounds heard as they reached the summit was a bit much -- but then again, maybe one can hear heavenly sounds at 21,000 ft.

Opening Titles: Just some white type on a black scene to set us up.

Theater Audience: Two other guys and us.

Squirm Scale: If ledges, edges, heights and incredible amounts of human pain are squirmy for you -- this one would be high on your squirm scale. If you have any of your own lingering injury, believe me, it will be phantom pain for you while you watch this film. My recently operated upon knee was killing me throughout the film (but seemed fine once we left the theater).

Predictability Level: We know from the get go that they survive but it is still difficult to believe while watching what they had to endure.

Tissue Usage: My buddy needed one, I did not.

Oscar Worthy: Yes - it would be a fine film to be nominated in the documentary category.

Nit Picking: Not a nit in sight. I think it is too cold at 21,000 feet for anything to live, including nits.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen is a must for the full adventure If you like other survival true tales how about one of my favorites, Alive and any of the films about Shackleton.

Length: 110 minutes.