Touching the Void is a great example of some of the best sports documentaries ever made. The film is focused on the irrational sport of mountain climbing. In the film, two Brits, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates, are on a mission to scale the heights of the west face of a mountain called Suila Grande that is found in the Peruvian Andes. We get to see the different challenges they face as the events in the films unravel and the different decision they make in order to survive the climbing experience.
Simon and Joe initially plan to make a quick and easy up and down climb of the mountain. They therefor carry all the required equipment and carry a limited amount of supply so as to reduce the weight of their load. This is a decision that comes to haunt them later on in the film. The two are able to make a successful upward climb, however, the descent becomes rather troublesome.
During the descent, the two are faced by various challenges and their original plan gets disrupted by the natural impedance that faces them; snow storms.
Tension and conflict arise in the film as the snow storm begins. The snow storm becomes a source of external conflict as the snow drifts hide the impending danger ahead of them: crevices and falls. Their situation worsens when Joe suddenly falls and breaks one of his legs. Both climbers realize that the current predicament that they are in will only end catastrophically in death. Simon thinks that his friend might not make it, an indication of internal conflict. Joe is also uncertain whether Simon will leave him to die or not. Unbelievably, Simon decides to stay behind and help Joe to make it to the bottom of the mountain with a series of ledges and ropes. However, the two think that they have found a solution to their current situation; little do they know that the worst is still yet to come. The two run out of water; this may be attributed to their earlier decision to cut down on the amount of supplies to carry.
In order for both climbers to make it to the ground, Simon plans a series of drops since they only had a 300-foot rope. Yate plans that he lower Joe 300-feet downward and wait for him to dig in and anchor himself and then he would lower himself. He would then repeat this process till the both of them made a successful descent. The plan seems theoretically good, but proves cumbersome when it comes to executing it. After dark, Yate lowers Joe over a precipice and leaves him hanging mid-air. To make matters worse he begins to lose grip of the rope and has a tough decision to make: whether to cut the rope and save his life or not to cut it and both of them would end up dead. Yate decides to cut the rope resulting to Joe falling downward over an unknown distance. Surprisingly enough, Joe makes it alive. This is unbelievable turn of events can only be attributed to fate as during the descent, Joe is slowed down by snow bridges that he crashes into and he ends up landing on an ice ledge. We get to see that Yate made a tough call in a situation of life and death; however Joe says he would have done the same thing if he was in his shoes. At the end of it all, the two climbers make a successful descent despite all the challenges they face.
The film portrays different aspects of sports such as teamwork and hard work. We see that Simon and Joes work together during the climb; they were roped together, one man always anchored as the other climbed downward. We also get to see the risk nature of sports and that there is need for endurance in order to make it in sports; nothing comes on a silver platter.
The film has conveyed various themes, but the theme of friendship mainly stands out. We see that the two blokes a good friend and it is due to this friendship that Simon decides to help Joe make the climb downward despite the fact that his injury reduced their chance of making it downwards. Even despite the internal conflict both of them have, through the decision they end up making, it is evident that their friendship triumphs.
To conclude, Touching the Void is a great film that constantly leaves you in suspense as the events of the film unravel. At some scenes it may appear like a horror movie due to the tension it creates. It will arouse different emotions in different individual but it vividly emphasizes on friendship and survival. Touching the Void is 106 minutes experience of a great adventure.
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