“Free Solo”: A Cinematic Masterpiece chronicling Alex Honnold’s Attempt to Scale El Capitan [Reel Talk]


As I watched “Free Solo,” all I kept thinking was Alex Honnold cannot be human. No sane person would ever willingly choose to climb a three-thousand-foot cliff without a rope. Such a feat is not only incredibly dangerous but also requires unimaginable athletic prowess. Yet, through the breathtaking videography of “Free Solo,” I watched Honnold do the impossible. He became the first man in history to free solo, rock climb without safety gear, El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

The documentary wisely does not attempt to answer why Honnold is so eager to risk his life rather inspecting the effects his alarming life choices have on the people around him. It provides an insight into the entire world of Honnold in addition to all the poignant details of his legendary climb. The thorough analysis covers multiple years of painstaking preparation and provides an glimpse into the less luxurious world of the fearless (Hannold lives out of a conversion van). The dynamic between Hannold and his girlfriend, Sanni McCandless, an integral part of the documentary and Honnold’s life, are what emotionally carry the movie. The raw, honest personal moments prove to be as moving as the climb itself.

Not to be outdone, the cinematography elevates this movie towards legendary status. The climbing portion of the film is shot from an unbelievable fly-on-the-wall perspective capturing the sheer magnificence of Honnold’s climb. The gorgeous angle allows viewers to witness every moment, every detail, every emotion of the epic journey. Those final twenty minutes of terror-inducing cinematography alone makes the film worth watching.

The documentary is a master class in almost every aspect. The final product is so magnificent it’s almost as impressive as Honnold himself. With a strong emotional draw complementing the unbelievable work of the filmmakers, “Free Solo” is a must see for everyone.