Picks and Pans Review: Touching the Void

updated 02/09/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/09/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

DOCUDRAMA

Nicholas Aaron, Brendan Mackey

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If your mountain climbing partner, badly injured and dangling like a dead weight at the end of a long rope attached to you, failed to respond to shouts or tugs on the line, what would you do? That question faced Simon Yates when he and Joe Simpson (see page 79) ran into bad luck while scaling the 21,000-ft. Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. Yates cut the rope, saving his own life. Because the two Englishmen narrate the film (actors Aaron and Mackey play the pair in scenes recreating the 1985 events), we know they both made it off the mountain alive. What it cost them, and what they learned, makes for a compelling, cautionary tale, though the film's hybrid nature—sometimes it's actors onscreen, sometimes the real guys—undercuts its emotional impact. (Not rated)

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