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 hes 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 its 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
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.