A documentary by National Geographic, Jimmy Chin and E. Chai Vasarhelyi’s Free Solo follows Alex Honnold on his journey to become the first human in history to free solo (rock climb with no safety gear) Yosemite’s 3000-foot El Capitan.
Alex Honnold is an interesting cat; he’s a strange mix of athletic confidence that you would see in a Michael Phelps–like Olympian, yet also has a certain sociopathic demeanour that feels like Ezra Miller’s character in We Need to Talk About Kevin wanting to rock climb.
While off-putting throughout, you can never tell if Honnold is trying to “act cool” in front of the cameras, or if he is being completely himself. Either way, this makes it hard to initially cheer for him, as each time he demeans his relationship with his girlfriend or acts like he has nothing to live for, it takes away the urge to want him to succeed.
He’s an extremely talented guy though, and each time Chin and Vasarhelyi photograph Honnold free soloing, it’s absolutely captivating. As Honnold and his team take you through his preparations, you begin to warm up to his idiosyncrasies and understand what he is (and has been) going through. The film does an excellent job of pacing, and although it does take a while to reach the final ascent, it’s well worth the wait.
- Genre: documentary
- Release Date: 9/10/2018
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