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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 16 May 2017
A recreation of an amazing climb in South America that went horribly wrong. If you feel that life is tough, just take a look at this film and see what it means to truly have to struggle to survive. Its amazing just how much someone can go through to just to live, amazing!
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on 4 May 2017
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on 19 February 2017
Amazing true story, gripping
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on 8 March 2017
Couldn't take our eyes off the tv. Amazing. Must watch.
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on 1 July 2016
This has to be one of the best films ever.
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on 12 January 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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on 9 December 2004
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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VINE VOICEon 31 March 2008
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.
The climb is incredible in its reconstruction and the Andean scenery is simply stunning. Throughout the re-enactment, the real Joe and Simon tell their stories via interviews.
Watching this film is excruciating at times because of its harrowing subject. Joe's descent into delirium is underlined by the sound in his head of the Boney M song "Brown Girl In The Ring" which replays over and over for hours, all the time making him more determined not to die to the music of Boney M!

This is an HD DVD film but because much of the mountain footage was presumably shot on small climbing helmet mounted cameras, the resolution on these scenes is very grainy and in sharp contrast to the pristine real time interviews with Joe and Simon. To overcome this, I lowered the resolution on my HD DVD player to 720p and this worked very well, almost completely obliterating the graininess from the mountain shots that was too prominent in both 1080p and 1080i.
Sound is DTS-HD and is absolutely superb. All channels are beautifully balanced and clear on a home cinema set up, particularly if your receiver can decode DTS-HD.
Extras include:
- Return to Siula Grande
- What happened next
- Trailer
There is also an HDi trailer at the start of the disc that gives the old speakers a pretty robust workout.

Summing up, this film is a must have and I recommend it unreservedly.
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on 16 October 2009
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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on 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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