Based on the harrowing true story, Alive is part survival tale, part real life re-creation. It’s a modern mountain horror story, without the fluff that sometimes accompanies the writing, with only the bare bones essentials for audiences to partake of. That’s what makes this movie great, its simplicity, and its attention to detail. Its cool cast is a bonus, and its heart is its power. I remember this movie fondly from my younger years, and I am happy to report that it holds up.
On their way to a rugby match with family and friends on board, a Uruguayan team and their companions crash land when their plane lowers from the skies too early and strikes a mountain. Many survive the crash, as the nose of the plane slides through the snow, settling in a snowy valley high up in the Andes. With no food and no hope of rescue, the young men must survive however they can, which means making difficult decisions and facing unfathomable odds.
At first, and despite the frightening crash, Alive starts slow. It’s almost muted, sometimes too non-Hollywood, and audiences will wonder what’s going on after the initial excitement of the situation. But then realization hits; this is a retelling, a reenactment, and my god is it as close as possible to every gruesome detail. This is what happened, this is what was said, this is what was done, with the real men telling the tale that led to the book and then to the movie. Watch to be fascinated by human nature and the human desire to survive, with an eye toward all the little pieces that make this film feel like frightening reality.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆