THE CLIMB – A Review by Cynthia Flores
I am trying to come up with a way to best describe the new film The Climb about two best friends named Kyle (Kyle Marvin) and Mike (Michael Angelo Covino). Played by two friends in real life that co-wrote the script with Mike directing it. The film started out as a short about a friendship dealing with the fact that Mike sleeps with Kyle’s fiancé. It was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival, so they decided to turn it into this full-length feature.
The Climb looks like it was shot in the seventies with its washed-out color schemes. It feels like a real art-house film, with its very choreographed style of clever long extended dolly shots and oddly placed musical breaks. Also, people interact in pure indie film-making-101 style, face to face, shouting inner thoughts as monologues. The best way I can put it is The Climb is what you would get if 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and 1964’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg had a baby. With a little bit of grittiness from Kevin Smith’s 1994 film Clerks mixed in for good measure. In other words, this is not a made for the masses buddy flick. The humor in this film is so dry, you’ll probably need an ice-cold beer to wash it down with.
The Climb deals with this tumultuous but enduring relationship between the two men across many years of laughter, heartbreak, and justifiable rage. Kyle is the sweet, kind, and good-natured kind of guy that everyone always loves. Mike is a self-centered jock. A user by nature but somehow still likable at times. The film explores the boundaries of this often-toxic relationship with humor and strong performances by all. Especially Gayle Rankin, as Marissa, Kyle’s new fiancé. She plays the “Ball Buster” type female with conviction and flair.
The movie is anchored by the chemistry of the real friendship of its two leads. The director/writer/star Michael Angelo Covino is quoted as saying: “In the movie, there are heightened, extreme versions of traits we both have that aren’t necessarily our best traits — I’m not that big of an asshole, and Kyle is not that big of a pushover.” To which writer/star Kyle Marvin responded: “But there’s some truth to those things as well.”
I give The Climb 4-stars. It’s not for everyone, but cinephiles will enjoy the ride.
Directed by: Michael Angelo Covino
Written by: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin
Selig Rating: 4 Stars
Running Time: 1hr 34min
Limited Release: November 13th: Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth, River Oaks Theater 3, Angelika Film Center & Café Plano, Galaxy Grandscape 15, The Grand Berry Theater, Bijou Cinema Bistro
Starring: Kyle Marvin, Michael Angelo Covino, Gayle Rankin, Talia Balsam, George Wendt
The Selig Rating Scale:
5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
4 Stars – Good movie
3 Stars – OK movie
2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.