Free Solo (2018)

PG-13   |    |  Documentary


Free Solo (2018) Poster

Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

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8.5/10
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12 November 2018 | johnfkitchen
10
| A masterpiece by directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
You had me at "Jimmy Chin", and "El Cap", so I checked out the trailer, and it looked pretty good. However I was unprepared for the reality. Trailers so often pick out some highlights and leave an expectation which is left unfulfilled.

The trailer didn't prepare me for the way this doc is crafted, the sequencing, the steady relentless buildup of emotion.

The trailer didn't prepare me for the visceral anxiety of the film crew, their inability to watch the viewfinder as Alex performed crux moves which could have resulted in him plummeting out of frame. The close ups of Alex's fingers on nubs if rock, his climbing shoes relying on tiny irregularities to retain grip, and his perfectly balanced moves displayed the craft of his skills. Non rock-climbers will learn an appreciation from watching this and climbers will revel.

I had no idea that I'd have to will myself to breathe to survive this movie, despite knowing the successful outcome.

I also had no expectation that I'd have to fight back tears during a documentary to stop them obscuring my vision.

Alex's achievement is extraordinary, as is the crafting of this movie. A documentary like no other. I've pre-ordered it so I can repeat the experience as often as I can stand it.

Incidentally, if you have the equipment to watch 360° video on YouTube, such as the PlayStation PSVR, there's a brief 360° promo called, I think, Free Solo 360. Experiencing hanging in space part way up El Cap is quite something.

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