Filmed by his son Max, Thorn, a deeply intimate documentary about the life and tragic death of climber Alex Lowe, places little emphasis on the world-renowned mountaineer’s many impressive exploits at the summit, or even on the psychology of what he has done to push his body and stamina to the limit. Rather, the film turns its gaze to those who knew Lowe best – or, in the case of his three children, those who never had a chance to get to know him.
It’s a dramatic tonal shift away from “Free Solo,” one of National Geographic’s previous (and highly acclaimed) climber documentaries, which built a character exploration around Alex Honnold’s exhilarating solo ascent of El Capitan. Max Lowe, who was just 10 years old when his father died in an avalanche in Tibet, brings his project closer to Stories We Tell, Sarah Polly’s 2013 study of her own family history, which puts as much emphasis on clarifying the truth. how much and revealing the truth. the very truth.
While there are no real secrets to be revealed regarding Alex Lowe’s motivation for climbing or his infectious exuberant personality in life, which, as can be seen from the many archived tapes Max gets access to, can sometimes be frustrating to those around him – the film is inevitable. feels confession and catharsis. Conversations between the director and his mother Jennifer; his younger brothers Sam and Isaac; and his stepfather, Konrad Anker, who was once Alex Lowe’s most trusted mountaineering partner, they all balance interview and circle of healing, trying to reconcile the real, mortal Alex with the Superman they and the public at large saw him as. Learning not only to see, but also to understand that humanity is the central thread of Thorn, which, with its quiet end, demonstrated how unexpected bonds can form around those in grief.
Not rated. The duration of the performance is 1 hour 32 minutes. In theaters.