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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gobsmackingly good!
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...
Published on 13 April 2008 by Jasmine Grant

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Touching the void
Amazing story but more of a documentary. I met Joe and he was truly inspirational but the film didn't do his story justice. Going to try the book!
Published 6 months ago by Ellen


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nail Biting - Even though you know how it all ends, 21 Jun 2004
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AE Hunter (UK) - See all my reviews
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This is yet another film I didn't really want to watch. My husband had read the book, watched the film and brought it in one night. Am I ever glad he did!
Joe Simpson is superb at Narrating his own tale, as if he had been doing it all of his life. Two actors/climbers re-create the climb they did, giving you an idea of just what they were trying to do.
He really is a man of great courage and realistic belief repeating honestly that in the same situation, he too would have cut his friends rope to save his life.
The ordeal he went through and the incredible strength of mind he must of had, to drive himself to survive is almost unbelievable.
Simon Yates (I think it was simon)is also very good at telling his side of the story. The poor man was scourned by climbing groups but frankly, what would you do if a person who would probably die was dragging you to your death over a cliff? I'd cut!
This is a superb film, even for those who aren't into climbing and I can guarantee you that every time you see him putting weight on "that leg" you shall wince and cringe!
Brilliant!!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Gripping, 16 July 2004
OK-if you think Vertical Limit or Cliffhanger [even, for the older of us, The Eiger Sanction] are great mountaineering movies, you may not get a lot out of this film.
Anyone else [the vast majority of us, surely] will appreciate what I believe to be one of the best tales of human endurance ever shown on film. The "plot" is well enough known-two young climbers have an epic on an Andean peak, one is seriously injured and out of touch with his partner who faces the agonising decision of cutting the rope which connects them. Given that both climbers appear in to-camera narrative shots, one is never in any doubt that Joe Simpson is going to survive, but this absolutely does not detract from the tension, the edge-of-the-seat involvement in the movie.
As well as the documentary style narrative, there are plenty of climbing scenes, some filmed with Simpson and Yates and some with climbing "doubles". The psychological courage of Joe Simpson in re-enacting his agonising crawl down the moraine to a base camp he didn't even know still existed is awe inspiring.
This isn't an adventure movie and it isn't a documentary. It falls into an almost unique category in which the immensity of human endurance and courage is depicted, analysed and celebrated. It should appeal to anyone with a shred of empathy and imagination.
There are several extra features on the DVD. Might I suggest that you don't watch one called "Return to Suilla Grande" for a day or two after seeing the main film? I think you'll see why when you do it!
On a personal note, I was an active mountaineer in the 80's and, like many others, engaged in fervent pub conversations on the cutting-the-rope controversy. Having watched this film, I'm ashamed that had the temerity to venture an opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 8 Dec 2009
By 
Paul G. Fuller "Scorpion" (Thetford UK) - See all my reviews
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An amazing recconstruction of an amazing tale of human endurance and determination. I have always asked the question of When things like this go wrong, why do other people have to risk their lives to rescue people who just want excitement in their world. On this occasion, there was no-one to turn to and it comes down to 'How do we get out of this one?' Fantastic filming which was done in the worst conditions and is well worth buying. You'll love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 4 Nov 2004
On one level, 'Touching the Void' is the story of Joe Simpson's superhuman survival of an accident on a mountain; on another, it is a story embodying all that is good about humanity - our wild need to try impossible things, our stubborn determination to survive whatever the world throws at us, and our craving to spread our stories, even when they are not entirely positive or ennobling, to others, so they might better understand what we have lived through. Because of all these things (and a few more besides), 'Touching the Void' is a classic of its form.
Pain in this film is remarkably well expressed. From the moment Joe breaks his leg - and after he has described, very visually, how it has been broken - the audience is again and again made to wince and almost turn away, until by the end, Joe's struggles are almost too painful to watch. Kevin Macdonald has done a sterling job of weaving together compelling interview footage with reconstructed scenes, ensuring that the audience sees vividly the intense sensations, physical and psychological, of Joe's struggle.
If you have a soul, 'Touching the Void' will ignite it, leaving you feeling changed. And if you've not already discovered Joe Simpson's books, you will probably want to - I, for one, intend to purchase and read all that he has written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Touching the void, 11 Oct 2013
This review is from: Touching The Void [DVD] (DVD)
Amazing story but more of a documentary. I met Joe and he was truly inspirational but the film didn't do his story justice. Going to try the book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark and Honest Survival Story, 28 July 2011
This review is from: Touching The Void [DVD] (DVD)
I am probably one of the most experienced mountain climbers you've ever encountered. I've been to Mount Everest, where I heroically singlehandedly saved a number of other climbers from a certain death in the blizzard; I've cut off my arm when I got stuck under a rock; I have died miserably in an abandoned bus in Alaska, where I mixed up some herbs and ate the wrong one. And all of this without climbing a single rock or hiking in the mountains for more than a few days.

Quite amazing, isn't it? One minute I'm staring into the eyes of Death; the next minute I pour up yet another cup of tea.

Yes, I'm what I'd call a full-fledged armchair adventurer and I've been it for years. Climbing for real? The thought wouldn't cross my mind. I can't even look down from the three meter jump in a bath without feeling absolutely nauseous. Adventures are best lived through the eyes of others.

But show me an "I-fought-for-my-life-on-a-mountain" biography and I'll throw myself at it, cherishing every word of it.

I suppose most people find those stories somewhat exciting, but to me it's far more than this. It's an obsession. Considering this, it's actually a little strange that I haven't seen Touching the Void from 2003 until now, even though I've read the book by Joe Simpson that it's based on not only once but several times.

I don't normally re-read books; there are far too many good unread books in the world to spend more time than one reading on each. But Simpson's book is an exception. The book isn't just about a topic that fascinates me, it's also very well written, and as a matter of fact superior if you ask me, compared to many other books in the genre (including Aron Ralston's book that inspired 127 hours). Simpson has talent for writing.

I suppose the love I felt with the book could have been the reason why I approached the film a little bit hesitatingly. I already knew every stone on that mountain. I had already experienced every painful step that Joe takes as he's crawling back to the camp. He had already told me every thought that occurred to him during his journey from hell. What could a documentary film possibly add? Maybe it would even take something away from my previous experience? Why would I risk that?

However, it turned out that my fears were unfounded. The movie follows the book very closely. I can't say that it adds many new perspectives to what already has been said about the events on the mountains, but it's a very well crafted film, not only the interviews with the real persons, but also the reenacting sequences, which easily could have felt a bit awkward. It was only as I saw the extra material that I realized that most of those sequences weren't shot on spot at all, but in the European Alps. They just felt so real to me.

Not the least did I enjoy the extra documentary about the making of the movie, where we follow Joe and Simon as they return to the mountain to make some shots for the film. It impressed me that the film team didn't try to make those parts look any prettier than they are.

Simon is quite grumpy in front of the camera, declaring that he's only revisiting the place for the money and he doesn't feel a thing about it. And he doesn't hide the fact that while there never was any conflict between them about the act of cutting the rope, they're not particularly good friends.

We see Joe going from indifference to agony during the return trip. In the end he doesn't seem to think that bringing up all those memories again was such a great idea. It could have been tempting to arrange a tearful story about how grateful Joe was about the movie being done, suggesting that it had a healing effect on him. But they stick to the truth, even if it doesn't always put the film team in a flattering light.

And how easy wouldn't it have been in the main movie to go into preaching, with statements about "the meaning of life", "seeing the light", "meeting a higher power" or whatever? But we never see this happen. Joe is a down-to-earth kind of person and he remains that way throughout the movie.

Or they could as well have ended up closer to the self improvement and management genre.
It's not unusual for adventurers to make a good living giving inspirational speeches to people in business about what they've been through, focusing more on motivation and how to reach your set goals than on details about mountaineering. But they don't. Simpson doesn't make any statements about the lessons for life he's learned. If we can get some kind of inspiration, learn something from his story, it's all on us to find out how.

In the end I think it's this special quality of honesty- the lack of outspoken sentimentality and the refusal to please the audience and give them the show they expect - that makes the difference. This is what makes it stand out and take the step up from being an ordinary documentary about extraordinary experiences to be something that deserves attention and recognition outside of the circles of the dedicated armchair adventurers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it!, 9 April 2011
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This review is from: Touching The Void [DVD] (DVD)
I read the book some years ago, this story is truly amazing. You really do feel for Joe Simpson and his amazing struggle from the crevasse but you also feel for Simon Yeates and his anguished decision, a decision he was forced to make. A decision he was ostracised from the British climbing community for. Very, very highly recommended movie, five stars just aren't enough.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely inspiring, 25 Nov 2010
By 
A. R. Caswell "Skye" (swansea, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Touching The Void [DVD] (DVD)
I had no interest in this and expected to sit tolerating it for 90 minutes, but this film is incredible. How strong is the will to survive? Joe Simpson is like the Energizer Bunny, just going and going on and on, long after the vast majority of people would have laid down and died. I recommend this to everyone, it's really gripping.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Brilliant!!!!!!, 5 Oct 2010
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This review is from: Touching The Void [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this when it came to tv. A monumental achievement. Made even more remarkable due to the fact that it is based on real life events.

It is testament to one mans unflinching desire to stay alive. Thank god that Hollywood didn't get their hands on it. You could see them using someone like Tom Cruise in the lead role and ruining it......

Unmissable.......
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speechless, 21 Sep 2010
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A very honest account of two people who lived to tell the tale but probably shouldn't have.

I'm not interested in mountaineering much, and don't climb at all, but this story is about survival and a first-hand telling of human behaviour when faced with death over and over again.

This film demonstrates several sides of human nature; egos, survival instincts, life and death decisions and even some madness! I found this film gripping, touching and for some reason easy to relate to. I would certainly recommend it!

There's also a good extra on this disc entitled 'What happened next', which is well worth watching (about 10 minutes long). The thing I almost found the most shocking was the way the hospital treated them afterwards, though the whole story is enough to leave you just a little speechless!
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