Free Solo (2018) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

sound 8

directing 9

effects 10

editing 9

writing 8


5 out of 5 🐙


In 2015, I went to the Sundance Film Festival for the first time. It was also the first time I was in the state of Utah. It was also the first time I had ever seen the rocky mountains. I had seen movies with the rocky mountains. I had seen tv shows with the rocky mountains. I had seen beautiful still images of the rocky mountains. But as I was driving to a screening, I rounded a corner on the highway and was confronted with the largest mass of anything I had ever seen. No representation of this phenomenon can do it justice. It’s not just larger than life. It ate life as an appetizer. It’s just absolutely stunning.

Free Solo made me think of this because the footage is simply humbling. Even if I wasn’t terrified of heights, I would still be stunned by the images. Visuals aside, the man at the center of the film, Alex Honnold, the world’s greatest free climber, is a fascinating person. I get that documentaries are edited to make it as interesting as possible but the guy is quirky and definitely not interested in towing the usual societal line.

The whole documentary centers around Honnold attempting to free climb El Capitan, probably the most difficult rock face to climb in the world. That is kind of difficult to really prove but it’s at least in that conversation. The terrifying camera angles and even more terrifying editing combine to make a thrilling and clenched fist experience.

It’s amazing. Nature will make you feel very, very small. And you’ll love it.







(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (sound, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

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