DVD Review: Touching the Void A+. Descending Siula Grande

Siula Grande

Touching The Void. Directed By Kevin McDonald


This film is a docudrama. It is based on a true story filmed in documentary style using actors for the characters involved and interposing interviews with the actual subjects. Kevin McDonald directed this powerful story that remains interesting and suspenseful to the very end. Joe Simpson and Simon Yates set out to climb 21000 thousand foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. After three days they reach the crest of the mountain and opt to descend by an alternative route. Bad weather sets in and Joe misses his footing driving the bones of his lower leg up into the upper leg. This is a death sentence given the altitude and the remoteness of the mountain. Nevertheless Simon sets out to rapidly lower Joe down the mountain using the 300 feet of rope they have between them. Haste is necessary because Joe is in danger of dying of shock and hypothermia. Due to the severe weather conditions Joe is accidentally lowered over the edge of a deep crevasse and is pulling Simon in after him to what looks like certain death for both of them. Simon cuts Joe loose to avoid being pulled over the lip of the crevasse. Joe falls and lands on a ledge about eighty feet down. Simon believing Joe is lost and at the end of his own endurance digs a snow cave to weather the storm and rehydradrate. The next day he looks for Joe at the crevasse but neither hears or sees him. Simon descends the mountain to the base camp. Four days later Joe crawls down to Simon’s tent in the middle of the night.

This film is beautifully shot. Each scene is dramatic in itself showing the grandeur, power and treachery of the weather, ice and mountain. The picture is worth seeing for the spectacular cinematography alone.

However the story involving the challenge of the climb, the predicament of Joe, the dilemma of Simon, the perseverance and instinct for survival of Joe and the final outcome are presented in a way to make the story intensely suspenseful, dramatic, inspiring and satisfying while leaving a lingering question of just what one climber owes to another in this situation, his life or his best efforts short of dying.



One Comment on DVD Review: Touching the Void A+. Descending Siula Grande

  1. Ed on Sat, 23rd Oct 2010 12:45 pm
  2. This film is a classic and also Kevin McDonald made the Last King Of Scotland for which Forrest Whittaker won an Oscar award.

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