“Free Solo “ is an phenomenal and utterly enthralling documentary from National Geographic Documentary Films that follows world-renowned rock climber Alex Honnold as he plans out and executes his boldest challenge to date: a free solo climb of Yosemite National Park’s “El Capitan”—a 3,200 wall of sheer vertical granite—without ropes, harness or other protective gear.
Honnold comes off as an utterly fascinating individual, whose other-worldly physicality and dedication to the sport is illuminated by biographical details that include the implication that he may have inherited Asperger Syndrome from his father. This striking revelation lends fascinating insight into Honnold’s mind-set, his near obsession with conquering Yosemite’s greatest attraction and his unique relationship with his girlfriend, Sanni. The suspense that develops as his feat approaches is remarkably palpable, with the film disclosing some very precise and appreciated insight into the technical details of free solo climbing as well.
Alongside Honnold, directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhely shine brightly in this remarkable endeavor—delivering stunning, nearly-hypnotic camerawork by Chin, MIkey Schaefer and Clair Popkin. They all bring the entire experience to death-defying reality and illuminate what a remarkable and one-of-a-kind feat Honnold is able to achieve. A well-deserved Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature in 2018.
View the trailer: