You can tell that "The Climb" started as a short-film. When extended into a full feature, "The Climb" begins to feel like an uphill struggle, despite some clever and sometimes hilarious detours along the way.
"The Climb" stars and was written and directed by Michael Angelo Covino, a guy who bears an uncanny resemblance to Oscar Isaac. It's a story of friendship between Mike (Covino) and Kyle (Kyle Marvin, who is also the co-writer), and their off-again/on-again relationship over several years.
On an opening bike ride sequence (which seems to drag on-and-on as a long, distant tracking shot...a technique Covino uses often in the film), Mike admits to Kyle that he has slept with Kyle's fiancé more than just a few times. This disastrous news sets forth a chain of events that brings the two men closer together over time...at least in-between Kyle wanting to kill Mike for truly being a shitty friend.
Kyle is sort of a gumpy dude...a good guy through-and-through and maybe the only person on the planet who would be willing to stick things out with Mike. Mike is not only selfish, but he's also dealing with several of his own issues and demons.
Covino - in this, his first feature film - shows signs of real promise...not just as an actor (or perhaps a stunt double for Oscar Isaac!) but as an indie-filmmaker. There are truly hilarious moments and situations, and you can tell that the two actors share a real bond on and off the screen.
But the longer "The Climb" drags on, there becomes less and less evidence that this should have been expanded into a full-length film. The middle portions of the film seriously drag, and the whole thing feels sort of smarmy, a tone that some might appreciate, where others might become aggravated by.
"The Climb" doesn't work all that well on the whole, but there is something there...Covino might be a filmmaker to watch, as he definitely shows flashes of brilliance, even if the view from the top of this film leaves a lot to be desired.
Genre: Comedy, Drama.
Run Time: 1 hour 34 minutes.
Starring: Michael Angelo Covino, Kyle Marvin, Gayle Rankin.
Co-Written by Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin.
Directed by Michael Angelo Covino (feature-film debut).
"The Climb" is available on Friday, November 13th, 2020.
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