(directors: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi/Jimmy Chin; cinematographers: Jimmy Chin, Clair Popkin, Mikey Schaefer; editor: Bob Eisenhardt; music: Marco Beltrami; cast: Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell Sanni McCandless; Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes, Shannon Dill; Little Monster Films/National Geographic Documentary; 2018)

A spellbinding documentary.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (“Meru”) and pro climber Jimmy Chin (“Meru”), a husband-and-wife filmmaking team, co-direct a spellbinding documentary from National Geographic of rock climber extraordinaire, the 33-year-old, Alex Honnold, scaling California’s Yosemite Park’s 3,000ft high wall called El Capitan without a rope (known as a free solo climb). He becomes the first person to ever do the free solo climb with no ropes or safety gear. Mountaineers consider this the greatest feat in rock climbing history. Why anyone in their right mind would undertake this dangerous feat gets cutely answered during the course of the film as ‘why not.’

As for me, I have no interest in rock climbing and even if young and fit would never do it, I nevertheless found the film riveting and worth seeing. The photography by Chin and his team of Clair Popkin and Mikey Schaefer was dazzling. The awesome film played in the spring at the Telluride Film Festival, which incidentally is located in the Rockies.