In his 1993 review of Alive, a film based on the infamous 1972 true story of the survivors of a Uruguay rugby team that crashed in the Andes on their plane ride to a tournament, Roger Ebert wrote, “We care about the characters while we watch the movie. But at the end it all seems elusive. The movie characters complete their dreadful ordeal, but somehow, walking out, we feel the real Andes survivors would not quite recognize themselves.” Ebert suggested that Alive‘s problem was one of evocation: despite the attempt to impart what the survivors went through, their incredible physical endurance (72 days in freezing cold temperatures) and mental fortitude (being forced to eat the flesh of their dead comrades to continue living) couldn’t even be approached, let alone translated to the screen.
Alive was fiction rooted in fact; Stranded: I Have Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains is a documentary, and perhaps its ability to report the same dramatic account of tragedy and heroism from the mouths of the men who lived to tell the tale might convey a stronger feeling for the desperate, deadly situation. Unfortunately, Stranded, directed by Gonzalo Arijon, gets us no closer to the heart of the matter–not for lack of trying, but for lack of a clear, effective strategy. Click here to read the rest of Michael Joshua Rowin’s review of Stranded.