Touching the Void

This documentary by Kevin MacDonald told the story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates climb up the previously unscaled Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. Their story, which has became part of mountain climbing lore, was told through personal interviews with them both and re-enactments were used throughout. The orchestral soundtrack consisting of mostly original tracks and a couple of well known pieces helps create an atmosphere and it really fits in with creating the tension and triumph that happens throughout the story.

The friends had managed to scale up the peak without an issue, it was in fact the climbing down which served to be a problem. Simpson fell and broke his leg, leaving Yates to carry him on a rope down the mountain. They then become stuck as Simpson dropped the clip needed for adjusting the rope and ended up hanging off the edge of a ledge while Yates held the weight. Later Yates had noticed the snow was slowly sliding away because of the weight he was carrying and had to make the difficult choice of cutting the rope which sent Simpson crashing into a caved area. Somehow surviving he spent the next few days making his way out and to the base camp where he was united with his friend who had assumed the worst.

In comparison to the King of Kong documentary, this one was produced a lot better, as it was professionally done by Film4. There were some amazing sweeping shots of the mountains as cutaways and the soundtrack fit the subject matter. They even included the Boney M song that Joe Simpson kept hearing in his delirious state. The interviews were well shot and the re-enactments worked well to help tell the story better than just Simpson, Yates and the man who looked after the base camp talking to the camera. I find it hard to find any negatives with the production as a whole as it was edited well, the soundtrack fitted the story, the shots were good and the re-enactment fit in as a narrative.

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