Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Dawn Wall (2018)

THE DAWN WALL is nominally the story of  Tommy Caldwell and his friend Kevin Jorgenson's successfully free climbed the world’s most dangerous rock face “The Dawn Wall” section of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. It also is the story of Caldwell's life, which includes being taken hostage by Muslim separatists, misadventures with power tools and  winning lots of awards.

Long time readers of Unseen Films probably suspects that I have thing for mountain climbing documentaries because over the years I've reviewed more than my share of them. To me the idea of pitting yourself against nature is a amazing. I am also a sucker for the tales that go along with the climbing. Going to far off lands and seeing and doing things no one ever has before is something I would love to do. As a result when THE DAWN WALL was offered to me I jumped at the chance to review it.

On it's own terms THE DAWN WALL entertained me. It is a really good climbing documentary  that tells a great story and I had a wonderful time watching it as I have had with almost every other climbing doc I've run across...

...and that s the problem here. Here is this wonderful story about this amazing guy and the film comes off as just another climbing doc. Yes, I like the film a great deal and I can't wait to see it again, but this is a story I should love.

The problem here is that anything other than the climb kind of gets pushed aside. Caldwell was kidnapped and had to kill his captor to survive and while it is discussed and hangs over the film its kind of like "well this thing happened and it messed e up for a bit but I became more focused and climbed better."  The same thing when he loses a finger, its like "well Tommy lost his finger but he trained himself to be stronger so so was a better climber" and that's it. Its kind of as if the directors didn't know how to handle anything except the climbing.

I sooooo wanted to love this film but instead I just like it, which isn't bad but it kind of means that in a year this film is going to be gone from my, and a lot of people's memories.

Nitpicks aside worth seeing when the film opens Friday, especially if you can see it on a big screen.

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