FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2018 -- Whoa! What a breathtaking visual. There is little more I can say about Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi's documentary about a really amazing feat. Not just the event, but capturing the even on video.


Renown rock climber Alex Honnold takes on the challenge of climbing Yosemite's 3000 foot high El Capitan - in Yosemite National Park. Though climbing El Capitan has become rather routine for most veteran technical climbers Honnold's plan was to climb it without ropes, picks cleats or any of that mountaineering equipment. His plan was to climb it with just his hands and feet - free solo.

Cinematographer/director Jimmy Chin wanted to be there to capture the feat on film. Chin, with assistance from Clair Popkin and Mikey Schaefer, followed Honnold through the entire process which included practices with a rope attached.


Remote cameras were prepositioned in the granite along the route and it looks like a parallel climber, but that's not clear. The images that are captured are truly amazing. You get a very real sense of height with ever foot Honnold climbs. Adding to the suspense is a portion of the rout that he was not able to master even while attached to the rope; the result was always a fall.


Included in the footage is Honnold's spartan lifestyle, background, family and girlfriend relationship sequences. But it isn't over saturated with sappy family scenes. That keeps the films pace directed toward the end. And much like the buildup to the Kentucky Derby, this one delivers a hell of a kick at the end.


See it on a big screen if possible, this is the type on film that should envelope you in it's grandness. If it had been possible, I would have like to see it in IMAX.


"Free Solo" is visually one the best climbing films ever made. It will capitivate you and have you gripping the arms of you seat while Honnold does what seems impossible.   -- GRADE A --   GEOFF BURTON