Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Movie Review: "To the Limit"

As if anyone needs to be told this film is worth seeing....

It was good. Really, really good. The cinematography was very well done, with a storyline including subtle references and humorous insinuations. My favorite was a scene in which a group of tourists were being toted around Yosemite with the guide explaining about the crazy climbers on El Cap, and the scene shifts to show the face of one of the Huber brothers as he talks to the other. For one second, I was like "They aren't ON the tourist trailer.....are they?"

The imagery between what is an adrenaline-laced sleep-time climbing nightmare and the nightmares that were reality for the two as they trained and made attempts are blurred in a magical way that drew me, as the viewer, right into the experience. There were some - very gripping moments - to say the least.

There is a lot to see in this film, from the fearsome technical intricacies of speed simu-climbing, to the deep bond of brotherhood that makes such acts possible. The compassion and care-taking between Alex and Thomas is touching and tender in a way that seems almost incomprehensible in juxtaposition to scenes where they channel full-bore testosterone-charged savage forces from within during attempts at the record. Ladies - you will not be disappointed. Neither will you guys....

I made an error in the earlier post I made here, when I wrote about the film running near me in NYC. I had referenced a review in which the critic chastised the Hubers for not respecting an 'old-timer climber'(her phrase) who had done the first rappel off El Cap. I had assumed she was talking about Chongo, and that was incorrect.

The rappers really were old guys.... Who, I don't know, but they compared themselves to the likes of Warren Harding in the daring-do required back in the day.

While it is definitely true that the Hubers were left unable to comprehend the profundity of the other's experience.... it is a scene that makes the film just that much more wonderful. I can see how a non-climber wouldn't "get it," but...since nobody reading this blog is likely to be in that category, it's safe to say the scene is stellar.

Well worth the nine dollar price of admission, I will most likely see the film again. There were two others in the showing I attended, a guy and his girl. Afterward, as we walked out of the theatre and were exclaiming how great the show was, I asked if they climbed. "A few times," the guy said in what seemed like a serious tone, "but not like those guys do." Perfect.

Though I can't claim to having seen a whole lot of climbing films, I will say that this one is riveting from start to finish with a story line that has perfect continuum. It would make a great date movie, in that there is a back story that non-climbers can follow, plus SO much way-past-the-edge adventure that you will be seen as a hardman by proxy. At least until you explain that you don't do...quite....that sort of thing. So - play down that aspect if you're looking to be getting some while the getting's good.

Anyway - about "To the Limit" - Go! If you are in NYC, you must go, it's as simple as that. If not here, and the film shows near you, don't miss it. Or get it on DVD when it releases. This is not a one-shot view. And I'm not just saying that because they show the boys with bare chests and hair a blazin' for most the film.....

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