Quickie Review: Free Solo (Documentary)

You slip, you fall, you die. That’s the simple truth at the heart of the sometimes meh, sometimes gripping (pun intended but also accurate) documentary Free Solo, about American rock climber Alex Honnold. The film follows Alex as he prepares – mentally and physically – to attempt his lifelong dream of climbing the face of the 3200-foot rock El Capitan in Yosemite National Park – without a rope. Is he nuts?

Free Solo aims to capture what drives Alex to do what he does. His reasons, like Alex himself, come across a bit flat, leading to a somewhat boring first hour. But then, all is forgiven, as we witness the stuff of nightmares and awe. The NatGeo camera crew, as nervous filming as we are watching, delivers some incredible and gorgeous footage of Alex free-climbing El Capitan, using little more than his fingertips and toes to bond with the massive rock for a few tense hours.

For that last half-hour alone, the bigger the screen, the better. Unless you have a fear of heights, in which case… stick to the trailer!


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