Alive

"Excellent"

Alive Review


Ah, the splendid sight of a good movie after a string of bad ones. Understand me, I have seen about five bad movies in a row, and, when I watched Alive, I broke my streak. Perhaps then it is fitting that I should write my review of Alive last (the last of a marathon writing stretch of seven reviews), that is should be my final respite after such a long series of typing.

Alive is the true story of a plane crash that occurred in 1972 in the Andes. Come on, you know what I'm talking about, the one where the survivors had to resort to cannibalism? Yeah, I saw that episode of Seinfeld too. The movie has been parodied way too much for something of its caliber.

It starts out with a steely narration by John Malkovich, who tells of his finding God in the Andes, and then quickly goes into a terrific sequence involving the plane crash.

From there on in, most of the rest of the movie occurs at the front half of the plane, where 27 survivors begin their fight to live. A few people are completely broken by the experience and die. A few people do will go to any lengths to survive.

The particular lengths they will go to include cannibalism. They do not kill and eat, but instead eat the people who have already died. Nando (Ethan Hawke) and Antonio (Vincent Spano) have such strong survival instincts that they are willing to climb the Andes to save themselves and their friends.

Unfortunately, I saw Alive last, after all of the wave of survival films that it spawned. Because all of these were Alive rips, Alive now appears to be contrived and cliched. But it is not.

Alive is a movie able to touch your heart (and your stomach) as it grimly displays the miraculous true story of survival in the Andes. Using relative unknowns at the time, Alive was able to manipulate the audiences into believing that the circumstances were actually happening.

As normal, however, I have my complaints of Alive. For one, although the performances are great, the dialogue is incredibly bad. True story or no, I have trouble believing that anyone would say half the lines in this movie. Also, the movie tries to be funny. Although many people who go through trauma develop a dark sense of humor, it doesn't ever seem realistic... and seeming realistic is what dramas are about.

Ethan Hawke and Vincent Spano do their finest studio roles (Gattaca as an exception for Ethan Hawke) as they take on fairly simple characters and take them to new heights. Illeana Douglas manages to hold her own as practically the only female member of the cast, a woman desiring to go home to her family. Most impressive, however, is Vincent Spano, who plays Antonio Balbi.

Antonio is a control-freak who is forced, by the mountains, to realize that there are things that he cannot control. As the mountain gets harsher on them, and as hope dies, Antonio dies along with it. Nando and John Haymes Newton's "Tintin" Vizintin, however, will not allow their hope to die.

Alive is a good drama, uplifting, hopeful, and intelligent. It is not the greatest movie ever made, nor is it especially worth spending three bucks to rent. If it's on the television, however, go ahead.

Now, of course, it's on DVD, and the crisp video makes this story all the more compelling. Extras are weak -- a 40-second introduction from the director and a couple of retrospective documentaries (one is exhaustive and practically a recreation of the movie with the real stars). The movie ultimately speaks for itself.



Alive

Facts and Figures

Run time: 120 mins

In Theaters: Friday 15th January 1993

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.