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About this movie
The sheer rock face known as El Capitan in California’s Yosemite Valley has been considered the ne plus ultra for ‘free solo’ rock climbers (‘free solo’ means climbing alone and without the benefit of any equipment except some chalk and a good pair of climbing shoes). At the heart of Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s documentary on their friend Alex Honnold’s attempt to be the first person to accomplish a free solo climb of El Capitan is a question that is at once both simple and profound: What drives Honnold—and, by extrapolation, anyone—to want to repeatedly risk life and limb in pursuit of a quixotic goal? Chin, a climber himself, and Chai Vasarhelyi delve deep into Honnold’s personality in the two-year lead up to the spectacular attempt, uncovering the multiple layers—some a bit disturbing—that comprise Honnold’s psyche. And the cinematography when Honnold finally takes to the rock face will literally leave you gasping. This is definitely a film that demands to be seen on the big screen.
‘This is daring, dangerous and dizzying stuff… The climbing cinematography by Chin and his team is vertiginous and literally breathtaking… But it’s the riddle of Honnold himself that drives the film. He’s a wryly funny and deeply intelligent character, and soon your heart will be in your mouth every time he trusts his life to a single toenail…’—Helen O‘Hara, Empire