Touching The Void (2003)

(In theaters, May 2004) This fantastic re-creation of a true-life mountaineering odyssey is an unqualified success. Thanks to some clever editing, the film manages to wring a considerable amount of tension out of an event narrated by the principal actors themselves. The film alternates taking heads with re-created scenes from the odyssey, and the effect is mesmerizing. Touching The Void, among other things, manages, in passing, to give a proper presentation of the appeal and mechanisms of mountaineering: It’s easy to be taken by the gorgeous alpine shots, or fascinated by the way people manage to haul themselves up a cliff. But of course, it’s the adventure that takes over; the way it just keeps getting worse and worse even as things should get better is nothing short of admirable. The film may be a touch too long, but that merely heightens the experience for the viewer. (Plus there’s the torture of Boney M’s “Brown Girl in the Ring”)

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