Film Review – Free Solo (2018)

Title – Free Solo (2018)

Director – Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Meru)

Cast – Alex Honnold, Sanni McCandless, Jimmy Chin, Tommy Caldwell

Plot – Follows free solo climber Alex Honnold as he looks to become the first ever free solo expert to climb the famous El Capitan rock face in Yosemite park.

“Let’s hope for a low-gravity day”

Review by Eddie on 21/02/2019

If there was an award for most sweat inducing feature of the last 12 months, I would say Free Solo would be an unbeatable favourite.

Stunningly capturing the adventures of American free-solo climber Alex Honnold, Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s National Geographic backed documentary and Oscar nominated effort is both an eye-opening account of the power of the human spirit and body and a testament to the death-defying and near unbelievable ability Honnold has in his field.

Focussing its attention on Honnold’s preparation and attempt to free solo (no ropes, no anything) climb Yosemite park’s famous El Capitan mountain, made up of over 3000 feet of shear granite rock face, Free Solo deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible as it puts the viewer right into the thick of the action as Honnold goes about his breathtaking adventures.

There are more than a few occasions when you will find yourself clenching cheeks, holding breath and probably sweating profusely as you watch Honnold going about his a business, a business that were one wrong move or false prediction could end in a very grisly demise.

It’s a visually captivating journey, one that takes us across various countries and continents and Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi have crafted an extremely confident and competent effort that is well deserving of its many awards and critical plaudits.

Thanks to these filmmakers, Free Solo is able to compensate for the often cold and mysterious tricks and traits of Honnold, who in many instances comes across as a very complicated and cold human figure, one who doesn’t connect on basic human levels with his quest to achieve perfection only to be found from his perilous mountain quests, not from any type of meaningful human connections.

Honnald comes across as a calculating and almost robotic figure (some things he says to friends and family is shockingly honest) but it’s clearly what’s needed to operate on the level in which he does and watching him move up a mountain with a precision based accuracy is a sight to behold, a human mind and body operating on a level that very few would ever dream to do.

Final Say –

If you didn’t see it you wouldn’t believe it, with Free Solo offering a first-hand viewing experience into something that seems like it would be impossible. Tense, taut and totally nerve shredding at various points, Free Solo is a captivating documentary of a very odd yet undeniably brilliant human being.

4 North Face clothing items out of 5

6 responses to “Film Review – Free Solo (2018)

  1. What an amazing experience! Saw this on an IMAX screen which gave you a sense of scale that made it all look even scarier… as you say, Alex isn’t the cheeriest of people to be with but he’ definitely an interesting character…

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