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July 4, 2013

Alive (1993)
Director: Frank Marshall
Actors: Ethan Hawke, Josh Hamilton, Vincent Spano


Synopsis: A charter plane taking a Uruguayan rugby team to Chile in 1972 crashes in the Andes. The survivors spend a tortuous 72 days in the mountains – enduring freezing temperatures, the injuries suffered in the crash, a severe lack of food, and little chance of being rescued….

Review: In spite of the incredible raw materials – the remarkably gripping thriller elements, plus the intensely profound ‘human’ angle – I’m not entirely sure just how good Alive actually is. It’s that age-old question of many movies: whether the mere story of an important person and/or event (à la Gandhi or Schindler’s List) automatically makes it a great film. Perhaps my main problem with Alive is just how naff some of its storytelling grammar is. The musical score is ridiculously hammy – seeming more suitable for a dumb action movie than an introspective, spiritual piece of work – but I think a lot of this is because, as I’ve noted with other American movies of this era (see Intersection and Indecent Proposal), the storytelling sleek of independent cinema – heralded by Pulp Fiction and Miramax Pictures – hadn’t yet seeped into the mainstream. (July 2013)

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