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  • Writer's picturePerrin Faerch

Review: The Climb (2019)

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

We have been blessed with many great onscreen bromances - Maverick and Iceman, Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Shaun and Ed, Riggs and Murtaugh, Johnny Utah and Bodhi, Bill and Ted...ok, ok, you get the point. But once you watch The Climb, it's impossible not to want to include Michael and Kyle into your list of favourite silver screen bromances.

Michael and Kyle are cycling, a winding road lays before them. Michael tells Kyle that he should peddle at a steady cadence. For a short moment, the conversation is positive, Kyle reveals that he is excited to be marrying his fiancé, but then Michael reveals that he slept with her in the past and in the present.

An exhausted and out of shape Kyle shouts out to Michael, "If I catch you, I'm going to kill you."

Michael, knowing his guilt responds under his breath, "I know, that's why I waited for the hill."

Changed slightly from the original short film to coincide with the feature-length of the bigger and better version of The Climb, it feels like we are getting an extended version of the original short. From there, we see the ever-growing, tumultuous, sometimes toxic, sometimes wholesome relationship of these best friends over the years told over 7 chapters.

Each chapter features mostly long uninterrupted shots as we drift and glide through Christmas gatherings, bachelor parties, moving house, etc. This makes each chapter feel true to the original ideas and visions both Michael and Kyle set out with from the very beginning. Because of this, each chapter could essentially be shorts on their own - with tightly focused motive, conflict and resolution beats that are cleverly and expertly delivered through just the dialogue alone. Each chapter feels like a snapshot out of a random page in their friendship history book, but they all flow cohesively together without it ever feeling like these moments don't belong.

Not only are Michael Covino and Kyle Marvin the stars of both the short and the feature film version, they're also the writers and producers of the full length, with Covino returning to direct it. Although tight and focused as mentioned before, their dialogue never feels too forced to create the motives, conflict and resolutions a good film, let alone a good scene needs to succeed. It still remains warm, real and absolutely hilarious, with the chemistry of these real-life best friends making easy work of convincing us that these are real people with real experiences that are both tragic and funny. This dialogue paired with Covino's direction really showcases how impressive Covino is as a filmmaker. Incredibly long, uninterrupted shots showcase the impressive camera and performance blocking, while still keeping the motive, conflict, and resolution beats as clear as day. It takes real talent to be able to meld all of those together without it becoming a gimmick or a case of style over substance.

The Climb was rightfully a hit back at Cannes in 2019, and even though it couldn't get its deserved time under the sun in 2020, it has earned the right to sneak into your watchlist and burn a permanent place into your heart. It's exciting filmmaking that showcases strong writing and the power of a profoundly wholesome friendship between real-life best friends. A bromance that firmly places itself among the best we will ever see in a film.

You can view the original short of The Climb over here...

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