duminică, 20 mai 2018

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

Amsterdam by Ian McEwan

After reading the astounding Atonement, it is somewhat to be expected that Amsterdam would confirm, if not necessarily at the chef d’oeuvre level, the extraordinary talent of the author, Ian McEwan.

Amsterdam is a masterpiece and it deserved the Booker Prize awarded in 1998, for it is such a complex, if short, intriguing, gripping, political, musical, deep, sophisticated crime story that has a compelling narrative, modern and believable characters and the familiar theme of guilt, that creates a common bond with Atonement, in spite of the two novels being so very different.
Molly Lane is one of the protagonists of this book, albeit she is dead from the first or second sentence, creating a bond between the other three key personages, the classical music composer Clive Linley, his friend- up to the crucial, climax point- the editor of the Judge newspaper, Vernon Halliday, and finally, the British Foreign Secretary Julian Garmony, the latter a favorite to become PM, like Boris Johnson.

Clive Linley has been commissioned to compose the Millennium Symphony, if possible creating a melodic phrase that would haunt audiences in the manner of Nessun Dorma, a feat that seems impossible under the present circumstances, following the death of Molly, a dear, former lover, so the creator decides to travel to the Lake District where he had been inspired before.
Once there, he takes a long walk in the middle of nature- even if perhaps a climb might be appropriate, at least for parts of the itinerary-is annoyed to see that he would have to share the path with hundreds of children who have the same intention and decides to change plans, when he feels the divine intervention and the muse is upon him.

At the same time, as he feels inspired to write the melody, the notes that have been so elusive and knows that they might be gone if he does not sit down to note them, there is a rather violent scene taking place nearby, between a woman and a man, who have some violent exchanges that attract the attention of the hero.
Clive decides that he needs to sit at this stone that is like a table and as he makes the effort to concentrate, only to be interrupted again and made to look over the cliff that is between him and the arguing man and woman and see the conflict aggravating, the rucksack of the woman thrown in a nearby water and sinking.
The composer has to stop three times and think that his work is important, this is the Millennium Symphony and the deadline had been postponed twice, the orchestra had been commissioned and the concert hall is waiting for him to deliver the music in a matter of days, so he has to continue with his work or risk losing the spark, the tune that was inspired by an eagle flying over.

Therefore, he does nothing related to the violent confrontation, even if he thought he might intervene, perhaps saving the woman from some negative consequences, but it would have been possible to go there to find that even the supposed victim would tell him to stay away and mind his own business.
Before all this, Clive has asked Vernon to agree to help his friend find a more decent exit from this life than their departed Molly, which was kept alive in the last period of her life in humiliating condition; unable to think and understand anything from what happened around her.

The two friends agree to help each other when circumstances require and the editor has some adventures of his own, following the moment when George – Molly’s last partner- gives the newspaperman some photographs that show the Foreign Secretary in some unexpected attitudes.
Julian Garmony is obnoxious, pretentious, arrogant, false, hypocritical, rude and appears to be a menace for the future of his country, if promoted to higher office, in a position to lead Great Britain to the edge, if not to disaster.

It appears to be a duty to prevent this man from harming the lives of so many people, no matter what the means are – “the purpose justifies the means” – but this issue is more complicated and it is the reason for the first serious fight between the two good friends- Clive and Vernon, where the former insists that what the despicable man does in his privacy of his bedroom is his own affair.
The composer would go even further later, when his own moral failure is highlighted, and say that it is like “taking a crap on Molly’s grave”, using the photographs she would never have allowed to be so abused to take on Garmony, when the editor himself had defended in the past the rights of transvestites.

Vernon is also right in attacking the lack of response in a situation with potentially tragic outcome, insisting on the fact that a serial rapist was abusing women in that area and therefore, as a witness, Clive has the duty to report and go to the police…when the two raise the conflict to the level of an outright calamitous clash, the editor threatens to call the police himself.
The two former friends feel so terrible about each other that they have become enemies, the composer writing a very aggressive card, talking about the ruthless use of intimate, private pictures of cross dressing and the immoral advantage and increase in circulation that would result from this abominable act.

The change in perspective at the newspaper, in the media and public is extraordinary and whereas some have opposed the publication of the Garmony material, even if it unmasks the hypocrisy of a public figure with the power to inflict damage to the country, others felt it is the only thing to do.
Amsterdam is a brilliant invitation to mediate on crucial themes like the importance of privacy versus the need to know what public figures do – take the Dominque Strauss Kahn case, wherein the man was in the privacy of his room when he attacked a maid- - morality, euthanasia and the possibility of committing murder using it as a cover, the prevalence of the act of creation over the need to help another human being, friendship and loyalty.

CARGO by Yolanda Ramke

CARGO by Yolanda Ramke

This is a film with a very dark, negative and pessimistic perspective on the future, which would have a deadly disease kill multitudes and those left behind are dehumanized and reduced to the state of brutes.

Alhamdulillah, there are a few human beings that act decently and find Signature strengths like courage, humanity, resilience, gratitude, kindness and they represent the chance that the planet may have…well, Homos sapiens, since other species would continue to live.
Martin Freeman is Andy and the hero of this film, trying to escape this plague of the future by living on the river, on a boat that is fast running out of supplies and the couple face the conundrum: do we keep sailing on the water, where we are safer, but face starvation- Andy’s option- or we get off and walk the earth to get food and risk death by disease- the view of his wife, Kay.

The man and his partner have a daughter, Rosie and they need to get some food or she will die of hunger, so when the wreck of another boat is near, Andy takes the chance to try and see what he can get on board of the partly submerged vessel.
Indeed, there are supplies there and even a bottle of wine, so the effort was worth it, even if there is a sound behind a closed door and for next try, it proves it to be fatal and makes one think of the psychology classic- The Gift of Fear, which argues that there are many situations that seem perilous, our systems warn us and we should avoid them.

Kay takes the risk in her turn and explores the sinking boat to get more things, like the razor she is glad to find, which she would want her man to use on the beard that she wants off his face, only to be attacked by whatever is in there and bitten- if that is the word- and infected.
They know the symptoms, the time it takes before one transforms into a sort of zombie, but there seems to be very little or nothing that can be done, except attach the watch with the timer and see the fifty-eight – was it?- hours expire and try to face the convulsions, the pain and vomiting.

A standoff takes place, for the woman understands what happened, the consequences, the inevitable death and more importantly, the danger she would pose to her daughter and partner once the transformation is under way and she is no longer Kay, but some dangerous creature inhabiting her body.

The hero opposes the idea of resignation and separating from the infected mother of his child and he insists that the loss of blood would make her die in a shorter time- just a few hours, maybe three- than what it takes the virus or whatever that is to take her life.
He insists on getting off the boat, against her will and her declared statement that this is her call, they get a car- that is so always waiting in this film on a few occasions and in others as well- and they manage to drive away, in the direction of a hospital.

As they dispute again when the woman feels the pain and the upcoming transformation and she wants to jump from the moving car, a man appears in the middle of the road and as the driver is avoiding him, they hit a tree and a large chunk perforates the woman’s abdomen.
She is already a zombie and her earlier stand is somewhat vindicated- she was right after all and she is now deadly- for she bites Andy, he is in turn infected and has only a short time to live.

This becomes a race to try and save the baby, who looks like she is not even one year old, and in this the film is different, for after just ten minutes or so, one of the protagonists is already turned into a different creature and we know that the hero would soon be in the same state.
It looks like we have an early Unhappy Ending and we are just sitting in front of the screen to see what happens to Rosie, if there is someone left there to protect the baby from zombies, pandemic and a Post-Apocalyptic world with little to offer in terms of hope and perspective.

In the first instance they find Vic, who seems to offer the coveted chance, for he has a nice partner, although not his wife we would soon find, Lorraine, but gradually, we learn that this is actually a despicable, abhorrent savage that keeps real humans in cages as…bates for the zombies he hunts down and the hero soon clashes with this brute, is placed in a trap with an Aboriginal girl and when they escape- after some heart stopping moments- they are saved by Lorraine who is shot when interposing between the monster and the fugitives.
Thoomi, the Aboriginal girl, is now the only chance Andy has to save his own daughter, but even if they manage to escape temporarily, the cruel, sadistic lunatic is on their tracks and they cross his path once more, when he has the chance and seems to be willing to kill Rosie in revenge.

There are quite a few scenes that are familiar from other motion pictures with the same, lugubrious theme, but the fact that we know very early what the fate of the main characters would be seems original, even if it cannot prevent audiences from hoping against reason that there would be something or someone to save the hero, maybe the Aboriginal knowledge of various herbs and cures and if not that, at least one of their prayers or something!
CARGO is not one of the classics of the genre, but it is watchable nevertheless.

sâmbătă, 19 mai 2018

Winchester ’73 based on a story by Stuart Lake

Winchester ’73 based on a story by Stuart Lake

James Stewart was one of the greatest actors in the world, the titan that blessed audiences with glorious performances in masterpieces like:

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Anatomy of a Murder, Vertigo, Rear Window, Harvey (reviewed here: http://realini.blogspot.ro/2017/03/harvey-adapted-by-mary-chase-from-her.html) , Philadelphia Story (talked about here http://realini.blogspot.ro/2017/08/note-on-philadelphia-story-george-cukor.html) and many more.
Perhaps the magnificence of this genius is even more outstanding if we consider he seems to have been a Republican, disputing with his friend Democrat and another deity of the seventh art, Henry Fonda, but this was long before the age of Trump, in which belonging to the same party as this mad man looks like such a foolish thing to do.

Winchester ’73 is not on the same pedestal as the aforementioned motion pictures, but it is still a very good western, with dramatic events, battles with the “Injuns” that are alas, portrayed in the wrong manner, specific to most, if not all, films of that period.
James Stewart plays the role of Lin McAdam, who arrives with his friend High spade in a town that is about to organize a shooting competition that would award to the winner the prized Winchester ’73 and the public is introduced to this legendary rifle that was coveted by all the men in the West…well, nearly all.

Furthermore, the Winchester that will belong to the best shot is special, for this is one rifle in a thousand and it is purported to be invaluable and indeed, throughout the movie it is clear that different men that come into its possession would not trade it for money and some are ready to kill more than one man for it.
Before the shooting begins, Lin meets the female star of the story, Lola Manners aka Shelley Winters, who is sent out of town by a man, provoking the gentlemanly hero to take a stand and tell the individual to let the woman stay, if she does not want to climb the stagecoach.

However, this person tells Lin and High Spade that they need to leave the guns they have at a storage room and Lin is curious to know by what authority is he demanding this and the man is confused and searches in his breast pocket for the…star.

This is the famous Wyatt Earp- indeed, much more popular and better known than Lin McAdam, an unknown entity before this feature- and he has an interesting apparition in this production where his presence is rather benign and cause for merriment.
When the contest is started, it is soon clear that the top prize would be disputed between the protagonist and a man called Dutch Henry Brown- a huge surprise would reveal their connection in the last scenes of the film.

Lin is so angry with this competitor that when they meet in a saloon, he reaches for his pistols, only these had been already left at storage, since Wyatt Earp wants no shootings in his town.
The two men are so good it is hard to establish a winner, even after they push the target further away, they still perforate the middle and then they opt for aiming at coins thrown in the air and they use a small stamp, for their talent is so remarkable and outstanding.

Finally, Lin is the one who wins the coveted rifle, but he does not keep it for long, as an ambush is prepared by his opponent who takes the prize and runs from the town, followed by the hero and his friend, into “unfriendly Injun” territory, where several clashes would ensue between the Native Americans – rightfully trying to defend their land from invaders- and the white people.
One may be surprised- this cinephile was – to find that the leader of the Native Americans, Young Bull, was played by Rock Hudson – hardly recognizable with paint on his face- and leads a warring party that gives chase to Lin and his partner, but also Lola and her partner at that time, the latter showing such cowardice that he runs and leaves the woman behind.

Dutch Henry is planning a robbery and he partners with another lunatic, Waco Johnny Dean, who kidnaps Lola, after killing her lover, over the Winchester rifle, which has had quite a history up to that point- it was stolen, as mentioned, then it was traded for more guns and money, then Young Bull takes it from a crooked trader and after he dies, it lands in the hands of yet another fighter- it was briefly held by the personage played by a young Tony Curtis…
The villains want to attack and take the money in the town of Pensacola – was that the name?- and coincidence or the needs of the script (?) make this the same place where the hero arrives and is overwhelmed to see Lola singing in the bar, without her man, who is…dead.

Lola says that this man, standing at the bar killed her late partner, Lin walks to him and they fight with the result you can anticipate, for we have the final countdown and confrontation between The Good and The Bad, the hero and the Dark Knight, Dutch Henry Brown, two men with a shared past, the same teacher we have heard about during the feature and a common secret.

Winchester ’73 is a much better motion picture than any of the cartoon based mega productions that hit the big screen these days…Transformers, Avengers and all that other paraphernalia.

Doctor Dolittle, based on stories by Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle, based on stories by Hugh Lofting

You might say that the idea behind this farfetched comedy is preposterous and unworthy and then consult the metascore and some critical notes on this film and conclude that you are better off missing it.

And you would be right.

Yet, the whole concept is not as absurd as it looks, if we consider that so many people have to interact with animals on a regular basis and, although it would never be in the manner of Doctor Dolittle, some decoding of pet language is essential in everyday life.
Furthermore, understanding the “language of animals”, playing Dolittle, ca prevent so much damage that is done on a permanent basis, by placing pets, wild creatures in situations where there is no more signal to send, but all they have left is bite, scratch, attack or hit.

Take this example from a comedy show – that this cinephile has seen recently- Hilarious, by and with the now ostracized funny comedian Louis CK that describes an incident, which took place in Italy, where he was vacationing with his two daughters.
One night-or was it at dawn? - He saw a large number of ponies and one lonely donkey, walking near the house where they stayed, somewhere in the Italian countryside, where apparently they still have wild ponies.
Excited by the rare occasion, the comedian went to take his elder daughter- with his outré humor he says something like f*** the other one, she is too small; this experience would be wasted on her.

One of the wild animals was sending obvious signals, “Talking” to the forty-one year old adult, but this failed Doctor Doolittle would not listen, allowed his daughter to get near the nervous unpredictable animal and therefore she was…bitten.
Hence, the point that a motion picture might do something to educate people and teach them some of the basics of animal language and with that saves lives and or serious accidents.
Take the case of those who insist that they are afraid of dogs- many of whom the under signed has met, while in the property of five borzois, multiple puppies and one afghan hound- and who react in the most irresponsible way when approaching a canine- and evidently other creatures.

First of all, so many humans keep staring at animals that they fear and thus make a terrible mistake, for that dog, wild boar or other would become very interested, annoyed and eventually feel threatened by this constant stare- cats for instance do not like this and prefer that one blinks when coming close to them.
Second, these men and women that have a fear of dogs – it mostly concerns them- start shifting, moving around, while holding the same fixed look in their direction and that is an action that is sure to make the animals very nervous, agitated so much that if these individuals tried, they could not get better opposite results to what they are trying to do.

Therefore, the basic rule would be to not look in the eyes of the animal, avoid any action- unless of course we have other situations, in the wild, where getting refuge, if there is one, would be the utmost, quintessential priority.
There is much more and there are television and other documentaries and shows that explain the research made in this area, even if sometimes those who are supposed to teach the public make the ultimate, tragic mistakes…

What was the name of that Australian, The Famous Crocodile Man who died while playing with a cat fish- was it?- Steve Irving?

Doctor Dolittle is all about humor and there is some in there, if we wait long enough and are tolerant and easy to satisfy enough for whatever merriment one can find in this comedy.
However, overall, this is a waste of the enormous talent of the excellent Eddie Murphy.

vineri, 18 mai 2018

Harold and Maude by Colin Higgins

Harold and Maude by Colin Higgins

Although Harold and Maude is not mainstream fare – after all, a very young man falls in love with a woman who has passed the eighty thresholds- it is neither an obscure nor a cult movie, for it is included on some of the Best Comedy Top 100 lists.

From the opening scenes, it is clear that the attitudes, perspectives and humor are outré and the merriment will be brought about by the absurd, the unusual in this creative, out of the box comedy.
Harold Chasen is hanging himself in the presence of his mother, who has had just about enough, for this is just one in a series of suicide moments- when talking with his analyst, the hero does not even remember how many times did he play with this morbid idea.

After the hanging moment, Mrs. Chasen enters another room in her huge mansion, with heavy, ornate decorations, lavish furniture and everything is apparently splashed with blood, there is red over the walls, objects and again, her “dying son” is lying in a pool of blood…or paint.
Harold is obsessed with death and therefore the place to be is at funerals, where he sits in churches and chapels attends the lugubrious service, listens to obituaries and apparently enjoys all the paraphernalia associated with obsequies.

He takes so much strange pleasure in everything connected with departures that he prefers to drive a…hearse and not the cool, fast, good-looking car offered by his mother, which seemed to be a Porsche, to which the weird man takes a …torch, au lieu of taking it for a ride, with a young girl.
Given the penchant for death, it may make sense to see Harold interested in someone who has passed the edge of eighty, a woman with similar tastes and an inclination to be part of the same funerals.

Ruth Gordon was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the role of Maude- and so was Bud Cort for his portrayal of Harold.
Harold meets Maude at a funeral- where else?- and the two get attached to each other, after their first encounter, the woman drives away with screeching tires, in a Volkswagen Beetle, which belongs to the priest who had read the obituary, but this is not unusual for the old woman.

Indeed, she may be aged in the official papers, but if we look at what she is doing, her attitude indicates either someone in her twenties or an older person that has lost her marbles- nevertheless, the heroine is very sane and aware of what she is doing and has probably always been a rebel.
Harvard Professor Ellen Langer has done research on aging – which you can access on the internet- and it proves that the attitude is essential and we can become younger in certain circumstances…perhaps adopting the Maude attitude.

On another occasion, Maude thinks she has taken someone else’s car- something she always does- but the hearse belongs to Harold, who is taken for a joy ride, in an effort to save a dying tree, using a stolen pickup truck and driving it very fast.
A policeman on a motorbike stops the car, asks for the documents, driving license, only to be told that the elderly woman does not believe in the concept of papers like that and then she drives round and round, until the motor bike falls on the road and they leave the police officer behind.

However, they meet again and the officer stops the law breaking driver, mentions some of the various laws that have been broken, stealing a car, the tree and running from the police, when…Maude jumps on the motorcycle and takes her companion with her, giving the middle finger to the man of the law, who was fooled again and wants to use his gun.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Chasen is trying to have her son settle down and change this continuous mocking, stop the series of morbid jokes and staged suicides and she uses a dating service- there was no Tinder in that age- and invites a few girls to the house, where the young man does what he likes best in such conditions.

He comes to meet the first girl, walks by and we can see him, and so can the guest, as he stops in the garden, pours some liquid over himself and proceeds to self- immolation, causing the poor girl to start shouting in horror, even after the safe, jocular Harold walks into the room.
Maude seems to have arrived at a great wisdom, for she knows that experiences are one of the keys of happiness- Positive psychology studies demonstrate that the money we may have are not well spent on objects, accumulation of material things, because humans experience a phenomenon which is called Hedonic Adaptation, translating into tediousness, a state wherein we stop enjoying the new watch, clothes and even car, with which we adapt.

In Stumbling Upon Happiness, another Harvard Professor, Daniel Gilbert explains that there are many happiness myths that are false, one of which would be the false conviction that if we would move to California, one Caribbean Island, Hawaii, we would be so happy.
It turns out that this is not what happens, for experiments have shown that once we move to this spot in Heaven, we get used with the palm trees, the ocean, the breeze and the other positive traits and see the problems- serious drought that lasted for years, violent wild fires in California, hurricanes and even without them serious electricity shortages on various islands where things are outrageously expensive…

Maude is the happy type, she nearly marries this young man, who is so much younger, and his analyst is puzzled:

“Look, the desire for the mother is part of the known concepts in psychoanalysis, but you have a desire for the grandmother type…”

The Wedding Crashers by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher

The Wedding Crashers by Steve Faber and Bob Fisher

The Wedding Crashers is not one of the Best 100 Comedies ever made, but it is a pleasant, entertaining feature.

Owen Wilson as John Beckwith, Vince Vaughn in the role of Jeremy Grey, the titan Cristopher Walken as Secretary Cleary, Rachel McAdams in the role of the daughter of the latter, and Claire Cleary have many very good moments.
Bradley Cooper has an unusual role here, he is the obnoxious, almost repellent Sack Lodge, while Will Ferrell- always radiant- has a brief appearance, which is enough to provoke about half of the laughs of the film.

John and Jeremy are the men from the title, who take advantage of weddings, with their atmosphere of celebration, strong emotions, warmth, closeness, longing, tenderness, romance to…have sex.
Chazz Reinhold aka Will Ferrell has another strategy, he attends funerals- in a way, reminding one of the classic Harold and Maude, where Harold has a habit of staging false suicides and attending obsequies, where he meets the woman who is some sixty years older and wants to…marry her.

Chazz is present at the burial services, because this is where people are vulnerable, emotional, sensitive, frail, especially women and he takes advantage of their not being aware of this- funny in this case- predator who is there to have sexual intercourse, which, granted, may contribute to bring the grieving relatives to some happier state.
John falls in love with Claire, but she is in a serious relationship with the rather loathsome, arrogant, precious, selfish Sack Lodge aka Bradley Cooper, who states at one crucial point that, after he marries his lover, she would not be able to have a career, do what she wants, for it is the man who is important…

In other words, Sack is a sexist, misogynistic, retrograde, medieval macho type and his partner has to be saved.
Talking about the Middle Ages, there are some confrontations between the rivals that involve physical- not figurative- clashes and punches are flying, with the advantage on the side of the villain, who is an athlete- was he in the football team?
John helps Claire understand better who she is and what an enormous gap, a precipice is actually separating her from the would be husband…or maybe one should say an ocean, given the preposterous, insensitive, self-absorbed statements made by the male chauvinist character- or is it pig?

Meanwhile, at the same wedding, Jeremy has sex with Gloria, who pretends to be a virgin, but not so much in an attempt to seduce by using a preposterous statement- although she admits she knew it is something that men find exciting.
At a later stage, she laughs at this pretense, explains what the truth is and she keeps fondling, massaging and ultimately masturbating the helpless Jeremy, at a large lunch table – or was it dinner?- with father Cleary, mother, other relatives and guest present- but unaware of what was going on under the table…

Was this amusing?
It was anyway meant to be.

Until the immense flaws in the rotten character of Sack are exposed, he has done some investigative work- through intermediaries- and found out about the dedication of his competitor to Crashing Weddings and he tells this to his bride to be and all the others in the large audience.
As it happens in romantic comedies, it appears to be the end of the road, the elimination of all prospects for the beaten hero, who has been unmasked and his failures exposed.

However, this is not the end of the game.
The inventive, creative Wedding Crashers have some more ammunition and Jeremy is going to marry Gloria Cleary.

Chances are that this would be a happy ending
A comedy must be as masterful, indeed, perfect as Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb to afford to toy with Armageddon, the end of days and this earth and project an unhappy finale, with the Doomsday Machine in operation and about to destroy Planet Earth.

Nevertheless, the Wedding Crashers is in a different league.

If you want a serious, quintessential comedy, on a level with the aforementioned of Some Like It Hot, you could try some of the comedies on the American Film Institute list or other reputable ones of equal or better value:

joi, 17 mai 2018

Alive, based on the book by Piers Paul Read

Alive, based on the book by Piers Paul Read

This is an incredible feature, based on the real, terrifying story of survivors of a plane crash that had to face a gruesome two months of freezing cold, avalanches, lack of food and the perspective of dying – as all but sixteen of them did- on top of the Andes Mountains.

It is also an incredible narrative about leadership, resilience, bravery, skills, determination, grit, creativity, self- esteem, humanity, kindness, extraordinary strength.
Evidently, not everyone coped with Adversity and Trauma in the same manner, but some of the leaders in the group managed to resist and save the others through the power of their example, their outstanding leadership skills and their modesty and spirit of self-sacrifice

Nando Parrado played by a young, wonderful Ethan Hawke, is the Ultimate Hero, an Ubermensch, the Superman of this feature, who has the greatest contribution to the saving of the other fifteen members of his group that have escaped this horrifying, hellish experience.
It all happened in 1972, as a rugby team from Uruguay flies over the mountains to play a game in Chile, when the plane crashes on top of the Andes and the search is stopped after a few days and the rescue teams arrive at the conclusion that there must be no survivors.

Indeed, some are dead upon hitting the ground and a few are injured and they would expire in the coming days, during there is a frantic effort to send signals somehow, to the outside world, which needs to be informed that they are still out there, in the snow and the freezing cold.
The group needs the batteries which could be found in the tail of the plane, but that is somewhere on the mountains, separated from the main body and a lot of effort is dedicated to finding this part, for so much hangs on it…the young people seem to think that it is a life and death issue, for if they find the batteries, they would make the radio send the SOS signal and bingo…

They would be saved.
Alas, even the trip to this cherished tail is next to impossible to make, for there are days when even getting out of the crashed body of the airplane is impossible, with the blizzard and the ferocious weather.

To add insult to injury or more salt to this already serious, life threatening wound, the party has to go through an avalanche during which a few of the men and women are killed, suffocated in the immense body of snow which buries them and enters the wreck.
One gruesome, abhorrent choice that has to be made after some days is whether to die of starvation or do something which appears to be sub – or is it in?- human and survive with the hope that they will be saved by the rescue teams that will receive their message- provided of course that they get the batteries.

When they do find the tail- and some sublime chocolate in the luggage fallen there- the deception is huge, because they cannot make the radio work and they are left with only one option, which is contested by some of the comrades, even when it is clear that the chances of beating death are fast approaching Zero.
When Nando and a few others declare that they have to eat…parts of their dead friends, some of the frail, but still ethical, moral men and one woman refuse to think about this and express horror and disgust, stating clearly that they would never do this…they would rather die.

As a real leader, Nando manages to convince most, using the argument of the children who wait for their father, when he needs to, especially after Liliana Methol dies in the avalanche and her depressed husband, now a widower, sees no reason to live.
So they cut meat from the frozen corpses, lined up near the body of the crashed airplane and this is one of the crucial elements that ensures their survival, together with the presence of Nando, whose insistence, drive, determination, bravery have ensured his escape from this ordeal and that of the rest of the group.

Early on, when he sees that they may have no success with the batteries, radio and eventual signals for help, he presses for an alternative, the plan B scenario, which would have a few travelling to Chile to get help and save the others.
This shows he had perspective, stamina, a fantastic, superhuman Will to Live, which saved him and everybody else, for they had to make the choice, after the battery and radio solution failed and even if it looked impossible, crossing multiple mountains, without gear, preparation, food, knowledge, experience, somehow they managed to perform the

Ultimate Miracle!

It was a difficult, immense effort, requiring- this has to be repeated- Super Man strength, will, power, skill, intelligence, patience…almost all of the imaginable talents and qualities had to be used.
People should stop going to see Iron Man, Transformers and the like and get to cinemas or look on HBO for films like this, where Real Role Models and Heroes show what humans can do.

There is one scene where one of the party of three who try to get to Chile, slips to the edge, hanging over the precipice and is saved by Nando and the other young man, in what seems to be ridiculously over the top in a regular movie.
But remember! This really happened and sixteen people survived a plane crash on top on the Andes, by eating human flesh and because they had a Wonder Man with them…