With fascinating documentaries such as Free Solo and The Alpinist highlighting the incredibly dangerous endeavour of free climbing, it’s surprising that Hollywood hasn’t seen fit to jump all over it, in a dramatic sense. And no, Sly’s 1993 Cliffhanger doesn’t count.
This indie film certainly gives it a go, by turning the drama all the way to eleven.
It’s been nearly a year since her husband died tragically and Becky (Grace Caroline Currey) is still wrapped up in the grieving process.
Her friend Shiloh (Virginia Gardner) sees that she’s not in the best of places, and decides she has the perfect thing to bring her back to life: a free climb. No ordinary climb up the side of a rock face however, but climbing an old radio tower in the middle of nowhere, standing an impressive 2,000 feet high.
Becky finally agrees that it might just do her some good, so the pair begin to ascend the imposing erection, with all their efforts focused on reaching the top. What they’re not aware of however, is that the tower has been poorly maintained over the years, and isn’t in the best of condition, suffering from rust and wear and tear in all the wrong places.
It may feel like a difficult climb up, but it’s also one helluva long way down.
In many ways this is a film where you can feel the gear changes in the dramatic until it hits that eleventh dial in all its over the topness. It’s all relatively believable up until a certain point, and then you will soon find yourself asking a number of questions regarding the event. Before you know it, it takes the credible into the incredulous.
To its credit, it’s good to see two strong female leads in this style of film; usually the audience would be dripping in masculinity as the male protagonists go about getting out of their precarious scenario. Not so here, with both young women very capable and competent climbers, with only their judgement for this particular climbing surface questionable.
It does spoil it somewhat when they reach their summit they end up having a discussion about boy troubles, because that’s what young women do right? It just means that some of the dialogue, along with the majority of the film, shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Sure the film’s premise has more holes in it than a touring bus of hookers, but it’s the kind of film where you really have to turn off your common sense before viewing. If you do, there’s every chance that, despite yourself, you’ll be highly entertained.