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Touching The Void [DVD]

Brendan Mackey , Nicholas Aaron , Kevin Macdonald    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
Price: £4.56 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron
  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Producers: John Smithson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Channel 4
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Sep 2007
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000S399II
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,881 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

In Touching the Void, director Kevin McDonald ("One Day in September") tells Joe Simpson's compelling story by combining talking-head interviews with Simpson and Yates, and stunningly photographed narrative footage, in which Simpson and Yates' ordeal is actually re-enacted on the Peruvian Siula Grande. McDonald's footage is both engrossing and eye-popping; it could easily stand alone as its own one-of-a-kind adventure film. The interviews, however, add depth to the film and make Touching The Void a unique, thrilling, and emotional piece of cinema.


A gripping, harrowing true-life story told with real skill, Touching The Void is one of the finest documentaries of recent years. It mixes in recreations of real life events with interviews, building up a head of tension that makes it hard to turn your eyes away from.

The story itself centres on two British mountain climbers by the name of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates. They head off to the Andes to climb Siula Grande, yet some way into the expedition, Joe Simpson falls and breaks his leg. At this stage he’s still attached to the support rope of Simon Yates, who struggles to bear his weight, and faces an impossible choice between continuing to hang on and face certain death, or cutting the rope and sending his friend plummeting down the side of the mountain.

Not only is this an extraordinary story, but it’s one that Touching The Void tells exceptionally well, with a focus and skill that rightly attracted the interest of award-givers. That those involved in the real-life adventure are telling you the story adds a real weight to the film, and director Kevin Macdonald--he who was behind the Oscar-winning One Day In September--weaves it all together quite brilliantly.

An unforgettable piece of cinema for many reasons, Touching The Void is an extraordinary telling of an extraordinary tale, and one that simply demands to be seen. Do make sure you see it. --Simon Brew

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edge of the Seat Stuff!! 12 Jan 2005
This is an amazing piece of film work. Its not fiction - but a reconstruction of an actual event that occured in the Andes. I was gripped from beginning to end. The story is interspersed with interviews with the two climbers and a colleague who stayed at the base camp. The re-telling of the sequence of events is so real that you almost feel that you are there with them ....... all I can say is that I'm really glad I wasn't.
What really struck me was the emotive aspect of the story - without giving too much away, how both climbers responded to the situations they found themselves in - in realtion to each other also.
Fantastic stuff, a triumph of human spirit and strength. Watch and be amazed!!
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gobsmackingly good! 13 April 2008
I reluctantly went to see this with a friend of mine,expecting to be bored out of my mind. After all a documentary about climbing isn't exactly my usual idea of fun. However, I was absolutely blown away. I remember coming out of the cinema and actually being speechless. This was a true story which is absolutely unbelievable. The beauty of this is that the real people are narrating the story, not actors. This is a really inspirational film for anyone, not just climbers. It really expresses the human instinct to stay alive and to not be alone. It makes you realise how through sheer willpower and determination human beings are capable of very extraordinary things. an awesome film!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching the Void 26 Feb 2004
In an age when the term "extreme" is applied to pastimes that carry negligible risks, it is worth being reminded occasionally what extremes really are: Touching the Void is an effective reminder.
The two climbers between them face everything that it takes to break the human spirit: the choice of abandoning a friend to certain death or facing one's own; crawling in agony for miles over rocks and ice; realizing that, whatever happens, help won't come; and, driven by determination not to go down without a fight, they survive to bring us the story of how they did it.
The story alone would make anything worth sitting through, but is complemented here by a gripping narrative, superb reconstructions, and the stunning cinematography. Buy it and get yourself a screen big enough to do it justice.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars watch...and think 9 Dec 2004
By Shug
about the human capacity to withstand what will seem to you like some of the most unbelievable conditions, to make the hardest decision you can ever imagine, and to keep going despite everything. I watched this film without knowing anything about it's background. It is the only film I have ever watched again, and again, and I will watch and think about these two guys - Joe and Simon, whenever I doubt whether what I'm doing is worth the candle or not. Watch this film. It is beautiful and awesome.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant and harrowing 31 Mar 2008
By D. I. Shipley VINE VOICE
Format:HD DVD
In 1985 two young mountaineers - Joe Simpson and Simon Yates decided to climb the so far unclimbed West Face of Siula Grande, a remote peak of 21,000 ft. in the Peruvian Andes. So remote is this mountain that it could only be approached on horseback and then by walking the rest of the way that is unpassable to horses or donkeys...
Using "the Alpine technique" of literally just packing everything into a rucksack and doing the climb in one hit, instead, of the more conventional method of doing the climb in stages and using various camps along the way, they make it to the top of the previously unclimbed Siula Grande.
On the way down, tragedy strikes when Joe falls and horribly smashes his lower leg through his knee cap. Simon then tries to lower the injured Joe down from the mountain. However, when Joe is left hanging over a ravine and dragging Simon inexorably towards a 300ft drop, Simon makes the decision to cut the rope and Joe falls 150ft into a ravine. Simon believing Joe to be dead then makes his way back down the mountain.

Miraculously, Joe survived the fall and despite his shattered leg, slowly and painfully crawled back down the mountain becoming ever weaker and going into delirium. Against all the odds he made it down to be found by Joe at the bottom and rescued.
Both returned to the UK and Simon faced considerable hostility from many within the UK climbing community including leading climbers for cutting the rope on his climbing partner.
Joe however backed Simon's decision and both climbers maintain to this day that they would have both died, if that rope had not been cut....

This is a superb reconstruction of that fateful climb and is shot on location at Siula Grande which is one of the most beautiful, desolate, and terrifying places on Earth.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So simple, yet says so much 16 Oct 2009
By Frank T
The description of this film might make it sound like a nicely shot adventure documentary, but it is much more than that. It's about suffering, companionship (and its limits), and the loneliness of the human condition. If that sounds too grand a claim, check out the look on Joe Simpson's face as he says, "I lost something".

The cinematography is magnificent, the ingenious camerawork used to convey Simpson's increasingly tenuous grip on reality being particularly effective. The pacing of the story is superb, the climbers shown sliding slowly into disaster, and Simpson experiencing his dark night of the soul before, little by little, flashes of hope start to appear, though punctuated until the last moment by the resurgence of despair.

The narration by the three participants is particularly moving for being so honest and understated. Joe Simpson's haunted look throughout, and the gaping pauses in his sentences as he recalls his worst moments, are deeply affecting. Unless he is an incredibly good actor, one can truly believe that his awful experience marked his transition from hard-nosed, arrogant youth to suffering member of the human race.
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