RATING |

Even if you've read the nonfiction best-seller

Alive

or seen the 1993 feature of the same name (with Ethan Hawke), or if you just know the remarkable story, the suspense in

Stranded: I Have Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains

is still going to get to you.

A quietly gripping documentary about the 1972 plane crash that left a team of Uruguayan rugby players on a snow-covered glacier in the Andes, Stranded combines archival photographs and film footage with eerie reenactments and mesmerizing first-person accounts - 30 years later - from many of the 16 men (out of 45 passengers) who ultimately survived the 72-day ordeal.

A tale of horror, heroism, unimaginable physical challenges, and, yes, cannibalism, Stranded offers the kind of real-life drama that can't help but bring up notions of God, fate, and nature's imposing will.

Directed by Gonzalo Arijon, a childhood friend of the survivors', Stranded offers, at every turn, a view into the human soul. What makes one man weak, another strong? Where does sacrifice begin and end? And what does death mean, and how does it appear?

Thrilling, frightening and profound, Stranded does honor to the men and women who died high atop that Chilean mountain range in 1972. The film likewise honors those who made it back, and whose lives were forever changed.

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Contact movie critic Steven Rea
at 215-854-5629 or srea@phillynews.com. Read his blog, "On Movies Online," at http://go.philly.com/onmovies.