DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: DVD Features Squabbling Siblings Scaling Peaks in Mountain Climbing Documentary
Thomas and Alexander Huber are world-class mountain climbers, but otherwise polar opposites. Elder brother Thomas is very laid back and plays in a rock band while two years younger Alexander is a physicist by day. So, it comes as no surprise that the latter would be a methodical planner while the former is an idealistic dreamer with a Laissez-faire attitude.
Ordinarily, this doesn’t matter much, since they lead separate lives most of the time. However, the contrast does cause conflict whenever they reunite for a climbing expedition, such as the ones chronicled here scaling both Patagonia and the thousand foot-high vertical nose of El Capitan, a peak located in Yosemite National Park.
The mountains magnify the squabbling siblings’ differences because neither is content merely to reach the top of a precipice, but they also happen to be speed climbers driven to arrive there in record time. Given their distinctly different orientations, this means there’s frequently tension in the air despite the fact that they’re involved in an undertaking where one false move could prove fatal.
To the Limit is a character-driven documentary dedicated to capturing these bickering daredevils against a variety of breathtaking backdrops.
Their cooperation and competition were caught on camera by fellow German Pepe Danquart, a gifted director who won an Oscar in 1994 for a short called Schwarzfahrer.
Far more memorable for its stomach-churning cinematography and the daring exploits of the risk-taking Hubers than for the boys’ badinage, this is a film which might, in any other context, simply be dismissed as a case study in unresolved sibling rivalry. But when such mouthing off comes while dangling thousands of feet in the air from the face of a cliff, it makes for a fairly compelling cinematic experience.
Mountain-climbing undertaken with a manic sense of urgency.
Very Good (3 stars)
In German and English with subtitles.
Running time: 95 minutes
Studio: First Run Features
DVD Extras: Epilogue, photo gallery, bios and production notes.
To see a trailer for To the Limit, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLpRydQ0jFY
Wednesday, October 15, 2008