Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin
Cast: Alex Honnold, Sanni McCandless and others.
Free Solo is a stunning and intimate portrait of free soloist climber Alex Honnold and his historic 2017 climb of Yosemite's El Capitan. The film chronicles the unflinching life story of Alex as he prepares to achieve his lifelong dream and often cross, the limits of possibility for the human body.
Free Solo is Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi's National Geographic backed documentary and Oscar-winning effort that achieves a near impossible feat of fashioning a highly watchable documentary out of so little material.
The visuals are incredible. The cinematography gives a very pleasant feeling when you see the gorgeous views of Yosemite. You get to feel a bit what it is like to climb what to most of us would be a blank vertical wall rock wall overlooking heaven.
You become a part of the the excitement and tension felt by all of the people in this story and you can't help but feel the raw experience of how this historic event.
A still from Free Solo.
The close ups of Alex's fingers on the rock, his climbing shoes on tiny irregularities to hold grip, and his perfectly balanced moves display the craft of his skills. Together it gives you adrenaline and sweaty palms. The pace of the film is appropriate, and it gains more and more suspense over time. When you watch Alex actually climbing El Capitan free solo, you're on the edge of the seat.
You already know the outcome, but you still can't believe Alex will make it. And he does.
The feeling of excitement and anxiety overwhelms you.
The glimpses into Alex' personality and his personal equations with his family and girlfriend are interesting. And even more interesting are his reflections on life and death, that he has to consider when doing something so...well, outrageous.
The bottom line is that Free Solo celebrates an outstanding achievement and does it well. It is stunningly beautiful and an anxiety filled nightmare at the same time. Be prepared to grab your seat many times, there are some really scary moments!
Watch trailer here: