Free Solo

  • Type: Movies & TV
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Informational
  • Recommended by: Lauren C.
  • ISBN/UPC: 024543470229
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Nail-bitingly intense, beautiful, emotional and striking.

This documentary capture's Alex Honnold's death-defying 3200-foot climb without a rope or safety equipment to the top of El Capitan in Yosemite. Watching him scale the vertical sheer granite is squirm-in-your-seat and cover-your-eyes intense, even more so for the film crew, as they don't know how this story is going to end. They look away with their eyes brimming with tears at times, unsure if they are going to watch their friend plummet to his death at any moment. Honnold's friend calls free-solo climbing El Capitan, "winning a gold medal in the Olympics, and if you lose, you die."

But this movie is more than just Honnold's climb. It's about what drives him to risk his life in this sport that is so dangerous that only 1% of mountain climbers participate in it, a sport so solitary, demanding, and deadly that it pushes away those close to him.

Perhaps the most alarming part of this movie is seeing the occasional flashes of fear in Honnold's eyes, or the tears creeping through his stoicism as he tries to explain to his girlfriend why he is going to take such a risk to climb El Capitan without a rope. The feat is so dangerous that it feels like a passive form of suicide.  

The scenery is stunning, the heights breathtaking, the risks shocking. Everyone on this documentary crew had to be experienced climbers to capture moments like Honnold jamming his hands into rough cracks in the rock to scale an area with no hand holds, karate-kick his leg into thin air to catch a foothold, cling to the cliff's edge by half a thumb...

The fact that someone was able to capture this all with such sensitivity is almost as amazing as someone being able to do it.