4th October 2019 8.45pm at empire
5th October 2019 12.45pm at Curzon Mayfair
8th October 2019 8.30pm at Vue West End
Whether platonic or romantic, all relationships take work, and keeping childhood friendships alive into adulthood is a serious commitment. But no relationship seems to require more maintenance than that of Mike (Michael Angelo Covino) and Kyle (Kyle Marvin). Right from the opening scene the pair set up for a treacherous uphill slog, anticipating that euphoric freewheeling descent. But The Climb keeps getting steeper, and the higher the gears, the more frantic – and hilarious – their struggle becomes.
As we track the journey of two best buddies, we witness everything from betrayal to betrothal, from birth to death. The narrative hops in and out of their lives, skipping years at a time to land in every turning point of their relationship. Though this could detach us from the story, the exquisite camerawork holds us willing captives as passengers through each twist and turn. From the incredible opening tracking shot, the camera continues to follow characters through scenes, weaving us in and out of the action, bringing us into the middle of arguments but also at times keeping us outside, viewing the action intently through windows and doors. Small musical interludes play with the passing of time, literally keeping us entertained as if we are waiting for a set change.
On top of directing The Climb, Covino stars as one half of our dual protagonist. If they were merged into one being, the characters would create one functional human, but as it is, they are two sides of the spectrum, selfish and selfless. Mike’s moral compass is faulty and only points toward his own needs, while Kyle is willing to let everyone walk all over him to get where they need to go. But if the two men could only learn from each other and ride together, they could speed off in the slipstream. Covino somehow creates a character that is at once alienating and endearing, while Marvin is equal parts and sympathetic and frustrating. Together, they create a delightfully volatile comic combo, their fluctuating friendship crafted through a consistently tight screenplay, also written by Covino.
Just like cyclists have to “find their cadence”, Mike and Kyle are constantly trying to find the right pace at which to live their lives to avoid burning out. And we thank God that they fail so spectacularly, for it’s their overshooting that makes this comedy such a rewarding watch.
The Climb does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.