Touching The Void

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Joe Simpson, Simon Yates, Nicholas Aaron, Brendan Mackey

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Ice, snow, mountain peaks and survival at any means possible – all play a large part in this brilliant drama documentary of the true life survival story of tow mountaineers, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates. Based on the book by Joe Simpson it details the events surrounding the expedition that Joe Simpson and Simon Yates undertook to climb the face of the treacherous 21000 ft face of the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes.

After a quick and successful ascent to the peak as they make their way down Joe breaks one of his legs forcing Simon to lower Joe down via a 300 ft rope but then everything goes horribly wrong forcing Simon to make a harsh but essential decision to cut Joe loose. Luckily Joe falls into a crevice and survives thus starting him on his journey for survival that would eventually take up to five days and lead him to the base of the mountain just hours before Simon is due to leave, convinced that Joe is dead.

Reconstructed with breathtaking cinematography, editing and two very good performances from the actors playing Simpson and Yates, a narrative by the actual mountaineers themselves runs throughout the length of the film.

With excellent directing from veteran documentary maker Kevin Macdonald, this is a brilliant film that is a part tragic account of what can happen when mountaineering goes wrong and part uplifting on the sheer drive for survival of the human spirit.

5 out of 6 stars