One of the thoughts running through my mind as I saw the Oscar winning Free Solo was why would anyone attempt to do this. Who in their right mind would think of something like this and then it hit me. Alex Honnold is not like you and me, he is different. He operates on a different plane as compared to us mere mortals. What he has accomplished is something so unique and terrifying in equal measure. I do not think anyone will come close to surpassing him for a long time.
Some people might look at this film and wonder why this is such a big deal. And to those people, I would like to say nothing as there is no point in trying to make them understand the magnitude of this achievement. I saw Free Solo in a theater fully aware of how it was going to end but the result was no less riveting. I felt nervous just looking at him as did everyone in the cinema hall who kept giving collective gasps every few minutes.
A film like this would not exist without the talent and bravery of its makers. In my opinion, Jimmy Chin is as much of a legend as Alex Honnold. Adding to this is his co-director and wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi who took care of operations from the ground. The technical brilliance of Free Solo is often forgotten due to the magnificence of Alex Honndold but it is a stunning achievement from a cinematic standpoint as well.
It sounds very simple to say that they just had to capture the action that was unfolding. But when you see what the crew had to go through, your respect for them is sure to multiply. Free Solo is a thrilling leap forward for human beings thanks to Alex Honnold and his craziness/genius. But don’t forget that it is also an astonishing piece of cinema that was a deserving winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary. I would like to finish with a quote from Honnold himself that might give us a clue as to what makes him so great.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking about fear. For me the crucial question is not how to climb without fear-that’s impossible- but how to deal with it when it creeps into your nerve endings.” This is the magic of free soloing and Free Solo.
Until next time, bye.