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Free Solo

This documentary film tells the story of Alex Honnold’s success as the first person to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes. This is an amazing, multilayered film that gives us much more than just the big climb. We get to really know Alex, who is rather quirky, what drives him to climb, and the ways his love of the sport impacts his relationships. We get to see how cameramen who are also experienced climbers prepare to film a dangerous event of such magnitude and the psychological aspects as well; they all know that they could be filming him as he falls to his death. And finally, we get to see footage of the climb itself. I have to say that this is probably one of the most thrilling sequences I have seen. Even though I knew that he was successful, I found that there were several places where I stopped breathing and was grabbing onto my seat as he was navigating some of the most dangerous passages. The camerawork here is just amazing. Big thumbs up for what will be one of my favorite documentaries of the year. I loved watching the climb, and I really felt moved by Alex as a person and what he had achieved. I am so glad I saw this on the big screen – I recommend it if it is showing near you. For anyone who is affected by heights and vertigo, this might be a bit of a challenge to watch; otherwise, go see it.

About Gary Burkholder

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