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'Free Solo': A Documentary That Could Give You Palpitation And Never-Ending Heart Attacks

We were sitting at the edges of our seats the whole time!


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'Free Solo': A Documentary That Could Give You Palpitation And Never-Ending Heart Attacks

Free Solo


Have you guys noticed that most people who've done great things in life are a little bit...unusual?

We suppose if you're going to do something that's never or rarely done before, you have to at least seem a little bit mad to those who wouldn't even attempt such things.

Case in point: Free solo (basically climbing crazy heights without any equipment) rock climber Alex Honnold.

Alex Hannold, free solo climber
The dare-devil climber definitely fall under the category of unusual, which is portrayed through great storytelling in National Geographic's 'Free Solo' documentary film. 

Honnold's is the kind of story that has all the right ingredients - a seemingly impossible goal, a not-so-typical family back story, nail-biting suspense, danger, laughter and...there was a girlfriend but we're not sure if we'd call it romance. 

Honnold legit says in the film that it was nice to have her (Cassandra McCandless) around in his van/home because "...she's small, she's cute and she doesn't take up too much space".

Hannold's girlfriend cutting his hair in the film
But the film was made in 2017 and they are still together, so we guess she finds him romantic?

Anyway, that's not the main story. 

The main story is Honnold's crazy goal of climbing the 3,200 feet (about 975 meters) El Capitan rock formation in Yosemite National Park, United States - WITHOUT A ROPE. 

Just look at that surface!
The moment we saw the granite mountain at the beginning of the movie, we were like...how is it even possible? It's literally a giant, almost smooth looking slab of rock that's not even, like...slanted. 

"Where do you hold? How do you not slip? What? How? Why?" - that was basically us the whole time.

But watching Honnold practicing (with rope, thank the lord, 'cos we don't think our nerves could have handled it if he went free solo straight away) was an education.

He's not even holding on to anything with his hands.
The guy has more strength in his fingertips and toes than most people would in their whole bodies. 

The fact that a human body can do the things he and the other climbers shown in the movie was a revelation, not that we'd ever try it. 

Honnold's brutally honest comments, combined with his unique sense of humour, adds a little bit of levity to an otherwise suspenseful movie. It is really interesting to watch his approach to life and walls. 

Seriously, why?
The kind of physical and mental strength, as well as sheer stubbornness that's needed to achieve something like that is definitely admirable. 

Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and world-renowned photographer and mountaineer Jimmy Chin, the movie shows the man that Honnold is, as well as his climbing prowess. 

The makers
The way his relationship with other climbers (who were also his friends) were shown definitely added a 'human' element to the story, which makes it that much more compelling. 

Besides Honnold's story, you also get a little bit of insight into how the movie was actually filmed.

The cameramen were also climbers, and the way they hang by the ropes from dizzying heights while holding heavy equipments gives you a glimpse into the kind of work that documentary makers do. 

Maybe you should clip your nails before watching Free Solo
Overall, the documentary film is one that will keep you at the edge of your seats, bitting your fingernails, gasping out of fear for a stranger you've never met in your life and likely never would, and generally anxious till almost the last minutes. 


But, the inspiring story and gorgeous cinematography makes up for all the anxiety you go through.

'Free Solo' premiers on the National Geographic channel on April 6th at 9pm. 


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