Free Solo - UVic Cinecenta
Dec 07/18 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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Free Solo

7:00pm PST December 7 - 5:00pm December 9

DEC 7 & 8   3:00 matinee, 7:00 & 9:10
DEC 9   NO MATINEE.  5:00 & 7:15

dir. Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin, USA, 2018, 101 minutes, PG

100% on Rotten Tomatoes!

You don’t have to be a fan of rock climbing to love Free Solo. The documentary and its protagonist transcend the sport. Last year, when Alex Honnold scaled the infamous El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park in a “free solo” — without the use of any equipment beyond his own well-toned body and instinctual skills — it was a feat beyond superhuman. It was also breathtakingly dangerous and foolhardy. 

But directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin construct an engrossing and compelling story, with Honnold front and centre, to set out the enormity of the challenge and also to explore the elusive inner drive that leads some people to do things that are far beyond the ordinary.

There’s also some necessary context to ensure maximum suspense, a host of similarly seasoned climbers (many of whom Honnold knew personally) who have lost their lives in the pursuit of their passion.

Honnold is himself a very interesting subject as we learn in the many months leading up to the climb. He’s happy living out of a van as he travels from place to place practising his craft. He pronounces that he’d “always choose climbing over a lady” until he meets a woman actually willing to put up with his unconventional lifestyle.

And there’s a certain intensity in Honnold’s big brown eyes that draws the audience to him as he sets out on this daunting quest. In short, he’s the ideal subject, an extraordinary man with an aura of mystery about him.

Then there is the rock itself, a sheer and pitiless wall that seems simply insurmountable. The tension and dread it inspires is a critical component of the film, and the directors and their team acquit themselves exceedingly well in chronicling the actual ascent. It’s nerve-wracking and exhilarating all at once.

Free Solo is above all a very complete and satisfying film, a meticulously crafted yarn that takes its audience on a fascinating journey into the life of one very idiosyncratic man pitting himself against the indomitability of nature and gravity.  –Toronto Star

Whether you care about climbing or not, you’ll appreciate this tale of passion, discipline and, ultimately, transcendence. FOUR STARS –Globe and Mail

The year’s most outrageously harrowing action movie turns out to be an arthouse doc from National Geographic. Boston Globe

UVSS Students:  $5.75    (only $4.75 for 9pm shows or later)
Seniors (65 & older), Children (12 & under):  $5.75

UVic Alumni, Faculty, Staff and guest (1 only) of above:  $6.75

Cinemagic Members: $6.75

Non-Members:  $7.75

MATINEES  (all seats):  $4.75