Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dante In The Andes: Stranded

I never saw Frank Marshall’s “Alive,” the 1993 Ethan Hawke vehicle based on Piers Paul Read’s bestseller about the Uruguayan rugby team that endured a nine-circles-of-hell experience that began in October 1972 when their plane crashed on an Andean glacier en route to a match in Chile, and ended 72 days later with the rescue of 16 of the 45 passengers, all of them emerging with incredible tales of fatal avalanches and last-resort cannibalism. The script is by one of my favorite writers, John Patrick Shanley, but unless the director is Werner Herzog, I tend to be highly skeptical of Hollywoodized "based-on-a-true-story"/"man-against-sadistic-nature" tales (Sean Penn’s endlessly tedious Into The Wild made me feel like I was trapped in the Alaskan wilderness for two hours plus, awaiting rescue by an intrepid editor). Which is why it’s a breath of fresh mountain air to see director Gonzalo Arijón, a childhood friend of many of the survivors, along with his cinematographers Pablo Hernán Zubizarreta and César Charlone (Fernando Meirelles’ DP—who as fate would have it was supposed to be on that very flight but missed it!) lightly and patiently treading the same territory in “Stranded: I’ve Come From A Plane That Crashed On The Mountains.”

To read the rest of my review visit The House Next Door.

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