Touching the Void

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 44
  2. Negative: 1 out of 44

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User Reviews

  1. D.C.
    Feb 6, 2004
    9
    Something different = something very enjoyable. A story you can hear again and again and never grow tired of. Beautifully designed, thought out and shot it won't make you want to mountain climb but you might want to buy the book.
  2. ArtieS.
    Jul 26, 2004
    10
    Incredible.
  3. ReneeE.
    Mar 14, 2004
    10
    It was breathtaking and beautiful. I loved it and it is one of my new favorites.
  4. Tom
    Sep 16, 2004
    10
    Superb.
  5. MountainLover
    Mar 22, 2005
    10
    Absolutely Brilliant.
  6. PatC.
    Nov 29, 2004
    8
    The definitive movie about expedition mountaineering, with thorough character exposition, personal motivation and cultural interaction has yet to be made. However, after enduring a legacy of inept features on the subject, some excruciatingly bad and even divergently insane, this film is clearly a step in the right direction. It is a powerful statement, if only by inference, of the burning The definitive movie about expedition mountaineering, with thorough character exposition, personal motivation and cultural interaction has yet to be made. However, after enduring a legacy of inept features on the subject, some excruciatingly bad and even divergently insane, this film is clearly a step in the right direction. It is a powerful statement, if only by inference, of the burning conviction that emerges in mountaineers as they discover the rest of the human race is really missing out on the privilege of total actualization, where one can experience an intensity of living on the edge of death usually reserved for military operations, but without inflicting cruelty. And while the sport attracts its share of irresponsible goofballs, it is clear that Joe and Simon epitomize the best values of brotherhood and a willingness to cope with adversity in pursuit of a fulfilling experience. The film's honest realism, believable depictions of mountain action and stunning cinematography sets a new standard for movies about the most committing of all sports. Expand
  7. JohnO.
    Jan 28, 2004
    9
    Best film of 2003.
  8. CameronS.
    Feb 27, 2004
    8
    There are two kinds of adventures you can experience in the realm of cinema. The first one would be an escapist adventure, like Raiders of the Lost Ark and the other Indiana Jones films. The second would be a human adventure, like The Pianist or Master and Commander. Touching the Void is the latter of the two. It?s about two mountaineers who climbed a 21,000-foot Siula Grande in the There are two kinds of adventures you can experience in the realm of cinema. The first one would be an escapist adventure, like Raiders of the Lost Ark and the other Indiana Jones films. The second would be a human adventure, like The Pianist or Master and Commander. Touching the Void is the latter of the two. It?s about two mountaineers who climbed a 21,000-foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. The film plays out as a straight drama of the event. There are actors playing the characters, but you never would?ve been able to notice the difference, for the narrative is all in the description by Simpson & Yates and the action of the actors. As far as the realm of capturing mountain-climbing goes, this is the real thing. Cliffhanger, Alive, and Vertical Limit are all exposing melodramas of the situation; this film is a stunning examination of just how hard it really is, and what you look like when you come back. We know from the start that Simpson will live, because he tells the story on screen. But when he falls into the crevice and is faced with a great impossibility of surviving, we wonder how he is going to get from Point A to Point B. Because Simpson?s endurance is so suspending and incredible, I would rather you go see the movie than I read any more. But I can promise you this, the film will grip you like a hammer into a vertical ice wall. Expand
  9. StevieG.
    Mar 27, 2004
    8
    Uneven, but interesting combination of narration documentary and dramatic recreation. The inherent drama of the situation in which these two (particularly one) numbskull extreme adveturers drives the movie. The cinematography of the recreation is breathtaking. There are a number of questions left unanswered, which is a annoying for a documentary, but there are a number of answers too. Uneven, but interesting combination of narration documentary and dramatic recreation. The inherent drama of the situation in which these two (particularly one) numbskull extreme adveturers drives the movie. The cinematography of the recreation is breathtaking. There are a number of questions left unanswered, which is a annoying for a documentary, but there are a number of answers too. Definitely worth seeing. Expand
  10. ChadS.
    May 22, 2004
    7
    Failure seems like such a high inevitability from the outset, you end up feeling annoyed at their precarious attitude towards their own lives; more idiotic than heroic. As for my feelings about the skier cutting the rope, thus sentencing his friend to death, like eating human flesh after your plane goes down, unless that carcass or skier is your parent, spouse, or child, all bets are off, Failure seems like such a high inevitability from the outset, you end up feeling annoyed at their precarious attitude towards their own lives; more idiotic than heroic. As for my feelings about the skier cutting the rope, thus sentencing his friend to death, like eating human flesh after your plane goes down, unless that carcass or skier is your parent, spouse, or child, all bets are off, and you do what you've got to do to survive. "Touching the Void" is a little redundant, but effective, because you can't believe Joe Simpson is alive. Expand
  11. HanV.
    Jul 12, 2004
    9
    It's great!!!!!
  12. DavidF.
    Jan 7, 2005
    9
    Gripping. I was on the edge of my seat.
  13. [Anonymous]
    Mar 31, 2005
    10
    Amazing movie...I can't believe it is a true story!
  14. amurabim.
    Sep 3, 2005
    7
    Drama? documentary? its biggest problem is that it can´t define itself.
  15. DanielR.
    Nov 24, 2004
    9
    Great movie one that really captizates you and freezes you to your seat.
  16. MarkP.
    May 17, 2004
    8
    Gripping from start to finish although there's no question about the outcome because they're sitting in front of you telling the story. I thought the writing was honest to the point where you really understand what emotions these climbers were going through. Very well done. My only gripe is that I would have like to have a little more understanding of how the climbers resolved Gripping from start to finish although there's no question about the outcome because they're sitting in front of you telling the story. I thought the writing was honest to the point where you really understand what emotions these climbers were going through. Very well done. My only gripe is that I would have like to have a little more understanding of how the climbers resolved things after the reunion. It ended too abruptly for me. Expand
  17. RoryM.
    Oct 26, 2005
    10
    Before watching the film I was put off by the fact that it was going to be a documentary. This, I thought, is going to be really boring. Hell was I wrong; the
  18. AliC
    Dec 7, 2005
    10
    Touching the Void was very nearly a Sally Field-sponsored, Tom Cruise-starring Hollywood blockbuster (Tom wanted the part of Joe). Thank the lord it wasn't. One of the great cinematic experiences, and the best climbing film ever, this is also a powerful exploration of humanity, that cannot fail to move anyone who watches it. Joe Simpson is a deeply erudite and thoughtful person, and Touching the Void was very nearly a Sally Field-sponsored, Tom Cruise-starring Hollywood blockbuster (Tom wanted the part of Joe). Thank the lord it wasn't. One of the great cinematic experiences, and the best climbing film ever, this is also a powerful exploration of humanity, that cannot fail to move anyone who watches it. Joe Simpson is a deeply erudite and thoughtful person, and I guess we are all perversely fortunate that such a ghastly experience should happen to someone with his capacity for reflection and emotional expression. Life changing, shocking and profoundly moving. Collapse
  19. Mar 18, 2015
    10
    Watch it. It's an inspiration. I just hope at least 90% of it is actually true. I loved it. I have to write some more to meet the review length requirement. There we go.
  20. May 21, 2013
    8
    This highly-praised documentary from Scottish director Kevin Macdonald (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND 2006, 8/10, STATE OF PLAY 2009, 6/10), spunkily tackles the most inconceivable survival story in the mountaineering history, narrated by Joe Simpson and Simon Yates in propria persona of their perilous conquest to the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985, while faithfullyThis highly-praised documentary from Scottish director Kevin Macdonald (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND 2006, 8/10, STATE OF PLAY 2009, 6/10), spunkily tackles the most inconceivable survival story in the mountaineering history, narrated by Joe Simpson and Simon Yates in propria persona of their perilous conquest to the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985, while faithfully re-enacts what had happened during the lengthy 168 hours.

    It is such an incredible and telling story which could eclipses Danny Boyle’s 127 HOURS (2010, 8/10), Joe’s destiny is as much indebted to his heaven-sent luck as his professional surviving skills and the tenacious willpower of staying alive. The talking-ahead forthrightness from Joe and Simon delineates their adventure in detailed nuance, carefully selected words without any bells and whistles, instantly brings audiences to the locale, we are fairly certain it is a mission impossible to do the copy-cat climbing and abseiling since it is unimaginable to transport a team of crew to accomplish such a chimera, still team Macdonald exerts formidable effort to show us what kind of beast Siula Grande is, a reverential task has been adroitly done and salute to the cameramen, two actors (Mackey and Aaron) and stunts.

    The natural immenseness, the icy whiteness and the fearsome precipices are soul-engulfing, and the forlornness is overpowering even we all know they all outlive the unthinkable misadventure (I keep imagining in the end of the film, Macdonald would show us a frontal shot of Joe with one leg only or a prosthetic leg). Myself is never an extreme-sports advocate, putting one’s own life in jeopardy to pursue some kind of spiritual catharsis or mental orgasm (maybe physically as well) has never been on my agenda, notwithstanding which, the film fortuitously excels its reassuring ode of human strength and reaches a soul-searching incisiveness for every viewer to reflect on our regards of nature and life. When curiosity being satisfied, the film still imprints its indelible mark on the ectoplasm level, great work indeed!

    The film’s 106 minutes running time seems rather short to me, when Joe finally reunites with Simon, the film also soon ends with succinct captions indicating their later life, which inevitably makes me wonder what is their rumination of that accident after the heaven-or-hell experience, I wish the film would be a bit longer to tap into that aspect, it would render us some revelation on a more humanized surface, then it would be an impeccable documentary feature for me. But anyway the film is the new entry of my top 10 BEST PICTURE in 2003, bravo!
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Awards & Rankings

Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. The story itself is so powerful and troubling, the moral geometry so vertiginous, and the photography so big that anything other than the natural sounds of snowfall and footfall is a Flat Earth Society intrusion.
  2. Factoring in Mike Eley's breathtakingly vivid photography and a virtuoso sound mix that completely envelops the viewer, it's enough to make you never again want to poke your head into the freezer.
  3. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    90
    Kevin Macdonald has a terrific tale on his hands, and his telling of it, very British in its matter-of-factness, can barely be faulted; yet the facts drop away, and it becomes impossible not to read the movie symbolically--as a journey to the center of the earth, or farther still.