The Climb


Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

The Climb
"The acutely caught observational humour is what gives The Climb its motor." | Photo: © Topic Studios

For a first film, The Climb marks a confident and superlatively cinematic debut by Michael Angelo Covino about a bromance between two best buddies and the inherent messiness of their lives. Kyle has just emerged from a relationship while childhood friend Mike decides the best way to smooth things over is some exercise on their bikes in the great outdoors in the south of France.

The long opening single take sets the tone for a series of vignettes as they work out the issues between them. Covino and co-writer Kyle Marvin take the roles of the best buds themselves having expanded what was an acclaimed short, which premiered at last year's Sundance.

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At the start, they’re on a cycling trip in the Midi before Kyle gets married to his French girlfriend (played by Judith Godreche). They pant and they puff up one particularly challenging slope when Michael tells Kyle that he and Ava have been sleeping together. That leads on to the next sequence in which the estranged friends are brought back together again by a sudden death. The years move on and the pals switch dominant positions as an old friend, Marissa (Gayle Rankin), joins the story.

The acutely caught observational humour is what gives The Climb its motor. There are some laugh-out loud moments amid all the backstabbing but most of the fun derives from watching these men collide, grow apart and come back together again, reverting to the same roles as in their childhood. We may think we change a lot as we journey through life, but fundamentally we regress to our roots seems to be part of the message.

Because so much of it has derived from personal experience the dialogue has a genuine ring of truth as well as warmth.

Above all Covino proves he is a natural filmmaker, avoiding any sit-com clichés and instead using his camera in a swirling and exhilarating fashion.

Reviewed on: 18 May 2019
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A look at the friendship between two guys that spans many years.
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Director: Michael Angelo Covino

Writer: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin

Starring: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin, Zina Wilde, Talia Balsam, Gayle Rankin, George Wendt, Judith Godrèche

Year: 2019

Runtime: 94 minutes

Country: US

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