Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
For an alcoholic, the road to recovery is a long, uphill crawl, but when you add immeasurable loss to that journey, you realise some things are impossible to recover. Based on the autobiography of prolific cartoonist John Callahan, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot traces the aftermath of the car accident which rendered him a quadriplegic. The artist begins to draw cartoons as a creative outlet for his frustration and depression, re-discovering his joie de vivre and finding the strength to begin the process of getting clean.
John (Joaquin Phoenix) is supported by his sponsor Donnie (Jonah Hill) – a wealthy, bubbly homosexual – and his nurse-cum-lover Annu (Rooney Mara), amongst other colourful characters who beckon this tortured soul back to the sunny side of life. Phoenix and Hill transform themselves in these characters; their pathos and chemistry warm the heart. John continues to live with a wild sense of humour, riding his wheelchair as fast as he can across railroad tracks, into oncoming traffic and up skateboard ramps.
The film unfolds through messy flashbacks that detail the vital chapters of John’s transition. The few animations of his cartoons that are dispersed throughout bring out the artist’s seedier, proactive side, a side that is omitted for the most part in the rest of the feature.
Despite incredible performances from the cast, director Gus Van Sant seems to be on auto-pilot. The picture lacks a depth that the acting does its best to cover up. The indie visionary relies heavily on tired indie cliches that droop in sentimentality and lack an original direction. The disability, the AA meetings and the romantic saviour/mother Annu are moments in cinema and TV that have been worked and re-worked, yet Van Sant falls back on copying and pasting without innovating.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is a touching portrait of a beautiful soul attempting to rise above his devastating mistakes. Unfortunately, fantastic character development from the actors cannot save this film from slouching into the toothless feel-good movie genre.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot here: