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Touching The Void [Blu-ray]

148 customer reviews

Price: £6.20 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Brendan Mackey, Nicholas Aaron
  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Producers: John Smithson
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Channel 4
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Jun. 2009
  • Run Time: 106 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001U3EOGW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,382 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Kevin MacDonald's ('A Day in September') docu-drama is based on a true story. In 1985 two ambitious young British mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, set off to scale the treacherous west face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. They reached the summit on day three, but shortly after starting the descent Simpson fell and broke his leg badly. This accident turned their daring expedition into a desperate fight for survival, when Yates had to decide whether to stay with Simpson and wait to be rescued (and possibly die) or leave him behind to save his own life.

From Amazon.co.uk

To describe Touching the Void as a mountaineering documentary would be to do this breathtaking drama an injustice. By intercutting narration from the climbers themselves with a nail-biting reconstruction of their remarkable adventure in the Peruvian Andes, the film has the best of both genres: the authentic stamp of factual storytelling and the edge-of-the-seat tension of a dramatic movie.

In 1985, two British mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, embarked on a daring--arguably reckless in the extreme--attempt to climb the previously unconquered mountain Suila Grande. A mixture of overconfidence in their own abilities and underestimation of the climb's difficulties brought them to grief after the successful slog to the summit. What follows is an often harrowing account of their perilous descent, during which Joe horribly shatters his leg and Simon is forced to cut the support rope on which Joe's life, quite literally, is hanging by the proverbial thread. It's no secret that both climbers lived to tell the tale, but at every stage the audience will be left guessing just how the crippled Simpson could possibly have found the inner strength to surmount each deadly trial.

Based on Joe Simpson's gripping book, the film boasts glorious widescreen photography of Suila Grande and its notorious glacier. Actors take the place of the two climbers for close-ups, though Simpson did return to Peru in order to re-enact parts of his dreadful crawl back down the ice. The story of Simpson's almost superhuman fortitude has become legendary in climbing circles, and even for viewers uninterested in mountaineering, Touching the Void is an astonishing slice of real-life drama, magnificently retold.

On the DVD: Touching the Void is presented on disc in anamorphic widescreen, which makes the most of the glorious vistas, and Dolby 5.1 sound. The two extras are fairly short but both are invaluable appendices to the main feature: What Happened Next tells in their own words how the team made it back home; while Return to Suila Grande finds both Joe and Simon back at the mountain in the summer of 2002 to advise on the filming; emotions are mixed at best, as Simon seems unable to express his real feelings about the experience, and Joe finds himself painfully reliving the ordeal in his mind, as well as in front of the cameras. --Mark Walker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jude Medhurst on 12 Jan. 2005
Format: DVD
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Miller on 26 Feb. 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Jasmine Grant on 13 April 2008
Format: DVD
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Shug on 9 Dec. 2004
Format: DVD
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 By D. I. Shipley VINE VOICE on 31 Mar. 2008
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 By Frank T on 16 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD
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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