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Film Reviews > Free Solo

Categories  Action | Adventure | Drama Reviews with  Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Jimmy Chin Release Date  14th Dec 2018  Filmography

Alex Honnold is an expert solo climber. In this documentary he tries to become the first person to free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000ft high "El Capitan" Wall. With no ropes or safety gear! The full cast includes: Tommy Caldwell as Himself, Jimmy Chin as Himself, and Sanni McCandless as Herself.

Starts off with a top view of a climber climbing a mountain. I'ts cool. He puts his hands on a hole in the cliff face. He doesn't use equipment. It's called "Free Solo" climbing. The climber gets interviewed on TV and radio. He says he previously free solo'd "half dome", a famous rock face.

It's Spring 2016 and Alex is in Yosemite. He says that "climbing had had an impact on his dating life" hehe. He continues and says "I think I'll always choose climbing over a lady" hehe. He chooses the "Freerider" route (a route is made up of the several positions that you need to climb to get to the top). There is an older climbver called "Tommy Caldwell" that was a hero of Alex.

They plan to climb "El Capitan". Alex says that El Capitan should only be climbed by rope. Alex explains that he mainly eats vegetables hehe. He visits students and they ask him "how does it feel to turn your hobby into your profession". "Sandy" is his girlfriend. Alex explains that she dropped the rope once. He fractured a part of his spine... outch! He said he wanted to break up with her after that hahaha. They start climbing Yosemite.

Alex climbs and the photographers have rope. The photographers have to face that solo climbers can fall and die. Then we see footage of old cimbers in the newspaper and video footage of them falling and passing away. It's quite intense.

"You see footage of a close shot of Alex climbing. It's exciting to see these close shots of the feet and hands. It feels like your there. You realise that his life is a game of inches"

He falls down and sprains his ankle. After some rehab he still climbs and shows resilience. He retells his younger life, it's very interesting. His dad loved climbing. His parents got divorced when he was still young. The landscapes are beautiful.

"He says 'if I perish you can find another climber'. You realise that Alex is a very strong determined person with no fear"

When he prepares for a climb, he climbs with a rope. Then he does another Yosemite climb. You see close footage. He jumps from one pose (two hands on rock) to another level. Wow, this practice jump is exhilerating! Wow! The camera man gets real close.

He has chats with his girlfriend Sanni. He's quite strict with her. She wants him to be safer. He climbs at night now, beautiful visuals. Alex and Sanni buy a house. For Sanni the point of life is happiness and not necessarily climbing. Obviously for Alex it's climbing. He climbs again and makes marks on the cliff face with chalk for preparation. Alex says that "Ueli steck" died climbing. You see the magazine front cover of the article.

The pressure is on. The real climb is scheduled soon. Alex asks Sanni to leave. It's harsh but he has to concentrate. She feels sad. The picturesque scenery is exceptional and memorable. He starts climbing the rock face. It's without rope. He passes a couple sleeping on a hammock during his climb hehe. He continues. He is climbing a vertical crevice. It's intense. He finishes that. Now he has to hang on tight for his next couple of moves.

He makes to the last two phases. On to another crevice. The camera movies in a top view of the cliff. Beautiful sceneery. He finishes! he calls Saani. The view is spectacular, awesome. A normal person would take the rest of the day off his team says. But Alex then says "Im probably gonna go hangboarding" hahaha!

"The visuals of the climb are outstanding. But what really makes this movie come alive is the lead protagonist 'Alex Honnold'. His personality is very unique. He is totally immersed in his climbing. He shows no fear but to the extent where you question why he puts himself through all this"
What a beautiful movie. Simple story line but very effective. Enjoy the enthralling 1hr 40min.

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