Race to the Summit

2023 [GERMAN]

Action / Adventure / Documentary / Sport

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 67%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 67%
IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 1308 1.3K

Top cast

Alex Honnold as Self
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
834.74 MB
German 2.0
Subtitles us  de  ar  cz  dk  gr  es  fi    fr  il  hr  hu  id  it  ja  kr  ms  no  nl  pl  pt  ro  ru  sv  th  tr  uk  vi  cn  
25 fps
1 hr 30 min
Seeds 1
1.67 GB
German 5.1
Subtitles us  de  ar  cz  dk  gr  es  fi    fr  il  hr  hu  id  it  ja  kr  ms  no  nl  pl  pt  ro  ru  sv  th  tr  uk  vi  cn  
25 fps
1 hr 30 min
Seeds 2

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by paul-allaer 6 / 10

Taking "Free Solo" to a yet further extreme

As "Race To the Summit" (2023 release from Switzerland; 90 min.; original title "Duell am Abgrund" or "Duel on the Abyss") opens, we are introduced to Ueli Steck, a mountain climber nicknamed the Swiss Machine, who takes mountain climbing to a new extreme with speed-climbing famous sites like the Eiger North Face, setting records along the way. Then we meet Dani Arnold, another Swiss climber who fancies himself a worthy opponent/rival of Steck... At this point we are 10 minutes into the movie.

Couple of comments: this documentary is a Swiss production, featuring 2 rival climbers who are taking free solo climbing into a yet further extreme. In this sense the documentary covers some of the same ground as the 2018 Oscar winning documentary "Free Solo" focusing on American climber Alex Honnold (who appears in this documentary as well). As was the case in "Free Solo", much of the footage in "Race to the Summit" is very tense/intense. How it all plays out between Steck and Arnold is of course plot-heavy so the less said on that, the better. I will say that the documentary focuses mostly on the record setting attempts, and we really don't get to know these two climbers as persons all that well. This means we (or certainly I) never connected with them as much as I did with Alex Honnold in "Free Solo".

"Race to the Summit" started streaming on Netflix a week or so ago, and I just caught up with it this weekend. If you like extreme sports documentaries or were a fan of "Free Solo", I'd readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.

Reviewed by keifwynne 5 / 10

Good guy bad guy?

It was hard to like either of the climbers in this documentary,both devoid of much emotion and neither had much to say worth retelling but maybe we can blame the director for that ?‍♂️

The documentary itself didn't really focus on anything bar records but didn't show much in the way of footage because .....well watch the documentary.

I love the subject matter but as documentary's go this is bang average and a bit disappointing if I'm honest.

It's a 5/10 for me only because what they do is incredible and seeing it in any way shape or form has to be acknowledged but it could've been so much better.

Reviewed by OneAnjel 6 / 10

There's an old rule...

One of the critic reviews claims this film is a celebration of Steck's life and goes on to criticize based on that perspective. I do not see it as such nor do I see any write-up claiming that. This film is based on a very famous and controversial sport and 2 of the fastest climbers. It has mind blowing views from the climber's perspective as well as from the perspective of the helicopter or drone. But I do feel there could have been more of that type of footage in this film- I would have rather seen more of each climber in action. I also just want to mention that it's a little hard to keep track of who's speaking because, unlike in most films, this film fails to identify the speaker each time.

It's interesting to me that mountain climbing, even free solo, is legal and can be called a sport while rooftopping, for example, is illegal and is called dangerous and suicidal. Both are big draws for media and always have been. The fact that we have social media and more opportunity now than ever to capture an event is just the nature of progress. Which brings me to my main concern about Steck's claim that he summited Eiger yet has no documentation. My first thought when the film crew stayed below and he went up was that he will have no way to document that because he doesn't have a camera crew and he's going to do it in the dark. And I wondered to myself why would anybody attempt that, especially since climbing at night is so dangerous that even most experienced climbers don't do it. So in the morning when they saw him descending and wondered out loud 'did he climb the summit?' I wondered the same thing. And to be honest it's hard for me to say that I think he actually did it. Because if you're trying to fake something, what better way than to leave your camera crew below because it's too dangerous and then to go in the dark - and then come down and claim that you were successful. Of course you have the capability, you've worked your adult life to become this machine so no one doubts you but should it really be a record when there's no evidence? I say no. There's an old rule since when we're children and it says that if there is no proof or no witness then it did not happen. I mean if you go to the Guinness World Book of Records and say hey a whale swallowed me and yet I lived, I was in the ocean and I was washed up on the beach and in the meantime I was in the the stomach of a whale. At the Guinness World Book of Records the guys would say 'well that's all well and good and congratulations but your feat needs to be recorded before it can go in the book.' With every possible means at his disposal, Steck failed to document some of his most important claims and I'm just not buying it. I think that when he was actually being filmed or watched is when he failed and died because he was trying to break his own record which didn't actually exist. And forgive me if you think I'm speaking ill of the dead, but I'm just saying what a lot of people are thinking and what his own camera crew wondered the next morning. They couldn't see him moving all night they lost track of his light, which tells me that he probably stayed in one spot turned off his light and then made the decent in the morning. I mean I'm not a mountain climber but I've watched probably every mountain climbing film that exists and I'm just wondering to any mountain climber out there, or any extreme sports junkie, would you really go about setting a record without documenting it? I don't think anyone who would say yes to that question. He didn't even have a picture or audio from the very top where his phone would have documented his altitude. You don't have to have an app running on your watch for it to document your altitude. And isn't it interesting that he chose to leave his phone down at the camp , which would have automatically notated his altitude .

And then the way, at the end, where they have this big question of 'well if you're doing it for yourself does it really need to be documented and really let's confess it's all about attention,' I think what they're failing to understand is that people like Steck and Dani didn't choose the sport in order to get attention; attention chose them because of their sport. So let's get that straight. And secondly, competing, by necessity, means that you're going to compare yourself to someone else who is doing a similar sport. No one sets about doing something passionate without sharing it, whether it's with their spouse or their children or whether it's with the world. Imagine if Shakespeare had never shared his plays or if the Wright brothers had never shared their invention would we give them accolades for their humility? Give me a break.

But back to my original comment, I do worry that rooftoppers are called Daredevils and tall buildings are admonished for not having enough security or gates or fences while mountain climbers and free solo artists are called Sports enthusiasts and we freely follow them in the media. I know this may sound like a tangent and I'm not saying that I agree with risking your life ever but I'm just honestly not sure what the difference is except that on the rooftop it's illegal and on the top of the mountain it is legal, especially if you spend a year's salary to pay all the fees. Why do we celebrate Steck's life but have multiple lawsuits and outcrys about Wu Yonging's death? Both men were doing what they love, challenging themselves and exciting the world. Were they pushed too hard by media and money? Should there be some kind of limitations set by law that tells them at this point you're still sane but at this point you're insane? I think we have too many laws in the world. It's not that I want to see people die doing extreme sports but I think they should be able to do them. We have a license to drive a 3-ton lethal weapon on the streets and despite thousands of accidents per year, many of them lethal, nobody is claiming that we should close down the streets or put more fences around them so that the wrong people don't get into them. So there's my rant and my two cents. I guess I've given you a lot to think about and you might agree with part of what I said and not all, but thanks for reading.

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