Heart-warming, funny, insightful, honest. Not the current bio for Shia LaBeouf these days but true for the film. Starring a breakout performance from Zac Gottsagen as Zak, a runaway orphan. The journey to become a world class wrestler takes many turns and never fails to find the funny or the heart it aims for.
A chance meeting at an aspiring actors camp with Gottsagen inspired directors Nilson and Schwartz to put a production together. Rewriting Zac’s own desire to become an actor with the struggle to become a wrestler the movie feels oddly biopic. Gottsagen himself is a captivating watch and quickly supplants his peers as the star despite their acting pedigree.
Deadpan in its humour and very self-aware you are never in danger of laughing at a character only with them. The opening daredevil escape is a perfect example, its simple pragmatism builds your rapport and understanding of Zak very quickly in an unlaboured way. The pacing of the journey feels neither rushed or slow, it makes time for the characters to show the hand life has dealt them with no rush to key pivotal moments or needless exposition.
While you may have noticed already, I find little to fault with this movie I did manage to pick up one thing to weigh my praise against. The lovely and kind Eleanor, played excellently by Dakota Johnson seems a touch 2D in her scripting. Contrasted to the dynamic duo the somewhat crowbarred in romance always makes her character feel like a third wheel. On top of this she seems unjaded by a life where she deals with regular death, suffering, a thankless job and an unpleasant boss. She waltzes across the country tracking two vagrants with the unnerving skill of a bounty hunter, and maintains a persistently perfect appearance regardless of what river or field she has been through.
Filmed in Georgia along sunlit riverbanks, dusty trails and corn covered vistas the cinematography captures the warmth of an idyllic summer adventure. The slow, down river shots and campfire encounters help make the world seem empty enough to be discovering new lands. Amidst the hustle and bustle of most films and our lives the backdrop of this film is as relaxing as a nature documentary. The sound track is similarly fitting to the relaxed atmosphere of the film.
In short there is nobody I would not recommend this to, it’s a crowd pleaser that is easy to consume and leaves you satisfied in the quality. It gives you hope, joy and laughs, things which have been in short supply for many for so long at the moment. It’s a perfect hangover film, Sunday film or feel-good family hang.
Author: Joe, Bath store