The amazing, true story of a Uruguayan rugby team's plane that crashed in the middle of the Andes mountains, and their immense will to survive and pull through alive, forced to do anything and everything they could to stay alive on meager rations and through the freezing cold.
A crowd of boisterous rugby players get a bit of a shock when the plane they are travelling on has an argument with a mountain top in the Andes, and next thing they know they are sheltering in what is left of their aircraft high in the snow-capped terrain with many dead around them and with very little food. Survival is the first order of the day, before rescuers surely come, but does anyone have the faintest idea where they actually are? With the low cloud cover would the wreckage be spotted anyway? What now ensues is a better than average survival movie, with Ethan Hawke (Parrado) and Vincent Spano (Balbi) on quite good form trying to motivate the assembled survivors. Their attempts to ration wine and chocolate soon prove fruitless, and morals and ethics are challenged across this largely god-fearing group as they begin to realise that deliverance from the middle of this avalanche prone country is unlikely, and they must turn to the more urgent needs of finding food... Will they resort to cannibalism? It's based on a true story, which though adding legitimacy, does rob the film of any real sense of jeopardy as clearly someone had to survive to tell us this story, but the route of their eventual salvation demonstrates well the difficulties they faced and the tests to their humanity and faith that they must address. It's not without the odd bit of dark humour and the snowscape cinematography contrasts well with the claustrophobic imagery as the sixteen survivors huddle together in the shell of their aeroplane for warmth and shelter. It is too long with some of the scenarios recycling themselves once or twice, but there is a genuine sense of peril from Frank Marshall that makes you realise just how pointless those pre-take off safety briefings are on an aircraft.