Free Solo (Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi – 2018) A-

This is a documentary about a guy who wants to free solo climb El Capitan, a sheer rock wall that stands 3000 feet or so in Yosemite park. Free solo means he is going to climb the thing with no ropes. Just upper body strength, chalk, grip and a whole lot of practice. It’s a stunning, terrifying and nerve-wrecking experience. At any moment, as his crew/friends are filming, Alex can fall from the frame to his death. If a bird flies out from the mountain it could cost him his life. One wrong step, one blast of wind…I am not ever going to understand the psychology of what drives someone like Alex. Whether he succeeds or fails at this is only half the experience, the intense drive and practice to excel is the other half.

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