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Review: ‘Solo’ is a survival story that loses its way

(L-R) - Alain Hern?ndez and Aura Garrido in a scene from the movie “Solo.” Credit: Netflix
Alain Hernández and Aura Garrido in the movie “Solo.”
(Netflix)

Not to be confused with either the stand-alone Han Solo movie or the documentary “Free Solo,” Spain’s “Solo” is a semi-involving, redemptive survival drama about a man who takes stock of his life after being badly injured while surfing in a secluded portion of the Canary Islands.

After taking a fall off a precipitous cliff, arrogant Álvaro (Alain Hernández) finds himself with broken bones, a busted phone and ample opportunity to reflect upon his decidedly jerky behavior toward his family and friends, particularly his taken-for-granted girlfriend (Aura Garrido).

As the hours turn to days, and with no sign of help on the way, Álvaro appears to be fighting a downhill battle against the harsh elements and bloodthirsty seagulls while hallucinating from severe thirst and seemingly losing his will to live.

Based on actual events, the film — which translates into English as “Alone” — plays like a less pulse-pounding, more contemplative take on “127 Hours,” but the tethered result, as delivered by director Hugo Stuven, isn’t an entirely effective one.

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Although cinematographer Ángel Iguácel captures the landscape in all its majestic, formidably rugged glory, Hernández ultimately fails to inject sufficient empathy into his moody character, while all those alternating flashbacks and episodes of delirium take a toll on the film’s ability to maintain a firm grip of its own on viewer engagement.

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‘Solo’

In Spanish with English subtitles

Not rated

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Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Playing: Available on Netflix

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