Where do I begin with this one? I have never been so completely moved by a film. Stranded is a documentary about the true story of a team of rugby players from Uruguay who crashed into the Andes Mountains in October of 1972 and were left to survive on their own for over two months by rationing food and eventually consuming parts of the bodies of the deceased. The story gained lots of media attention back in the day and in the early 90′s a film called Alive was made based on those true events.

The difference between Stranded and Alive is that Stranded is documentary rather than a feature film and thus takes a totally different approach in retelling the story of those who survived. Hearing the story from the survivors themselves is chilling enough, but when it’s juxtaposed with gritty re-enactments of their words, the effect is frightening and unbelievable. I got the sense that I was re-living the journey with them and that every single word they spoke carried with it a tremendous emotional and spiritual weight — something that each of the survivors talks about in great detail throughout the film. It’s a real dimension of the events that you won’t get from Alive at all and I think that’s what makes Stranded such an incredible film.

To say it simply, this was one of the most intense 2 hours I’ve ever spent in front of a screen (in this case, my laptop screen, but whatever) even though Stranded had no explosions, gun fights, or major action scenes. I always feel like the greatest movies are those that move you, engage you, and tell a story about the human condition that is beyond imaginable, and Stranded certainly fits that description.

I can easily put this in the top films and documentaries I’ve had the pleasure of viewing and I highly encourage you to find some time in your future to sit down with it with no distractions nearby and watch it from beginning to end. I guarantee you that you’ll come away from it with a deeper appreciation of life and be utterly amazed at what the human mind and body is capable of when it ultimately needs to survive. Five out of five stars, hands down.

NOTE: Stranded is available to Watch Instantly on Netflix, so if you’re a Netflix subscriber, that’s one way to watch it.