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

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

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.