At 19,340 feet, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. An average of 10 people a year die trying to reach Kilimanjaro's summit.
Bonner Paddock isn't a mountain climber. Born with Cerebral Palsy, Paddock is far more fortunate than many with the birth defect and he knows it. Since an encounter with a young boy with Cerebral Palsy who would die later that night during his first 1/2 marathon, a United Cerebral Palsy event, Paddock has committed himself to doing whatever it takes to raise awareness and funds on behalf of those living with Cerebral Palsy.
Paddock decides to climb Kilimanjaro.
With only a few months training and no real clue of what he's about to encounter, Paddock heads out with a small group of friends, a nurse practitioner, an experienced team leader and two actual guides to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro against the recommendation of physician and, most likely, anyone else with a bit of common sense.
Over the course of 8 days and the equivalent of 64 miles, Paddock and his team endure wildly varying weather, sheer cliffs, sub-zero temperatures and, of course, the ever-thinning oxygen in an effort to achieve the impossible and make a difference for others all over the world.
This 40-minute inspirational documentary, powerfully narrated by Academy Award nominee Michael Clarke Duncan, has been picked up by indie distrib FilmWorks Entertainment for a home video release on August 23rd, 2011 at both online and bricks-and-mortar distribution points.
Awesomely photographed by Jeff Dolen, Beyond Limits
avoids false histrionics and over-emoting and, quite simply, trusts the power of Paddock's own actions and words to inspire. Indeed, they are inspirational. While Paddock's level of disability may not quite be at the point of many who live with Cerebral Palsy (For example, he does walk), Paddock does have a weak lower body, spastic leg muscles and a poor sense of balance that can, and did, prove quite hazardous at several points throughout his climb up Kilimanjaro. There is one section, in particular, that is quite harrowing as we watch Mudi, the lead tour guide, shadow Paddock quite closely to keep him from falling as he wobbles up a narrow pathway.
Similar in tone to two other docs reviewed here on The Independent Critic, Defying Zeus
and Climbing Kili, Beyond Limits
cannot help but be an inspirational film because it celebrates the overcoming spirit, the power of teamwork and the the absolute truth that we do, when we choose, make a difference in the lives of others through our actions.
For more information on this inspiring true story brought beautifully to life by director Kent Bassett and all those who joined Paddock for this endeavor, visit the FilmWorks Entertainment website for Beyond Limits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic