May 13 – 2PM + 7:30PM
USA, 2019 – Rated: 14A – 96 minutes
Directed by Michael Angelo Convino
Cast: Kyle Marvin, Michael Angelo Covino, Gayle Rankin
The set-up is simple: lifelong friends Mike and Kyle are out for a bike ride through the mountains in the south of France when Mike confesses that he slept with Kyle’s fiancée. In the hands of director Michael Angelo Covino (who also co-wrote and co-stars in the film), this confessional episode expands into an epic multi-year journey that navigates the ins and outs of a co-dependent friendship.
Traversing through family holidays, birthdays, ski trips, and, of course, bike rides, The Climb takes what could be a knucklehead display of toxic masculinity and — through an intelligent, surprising, and self-aware use of slapstick and whip-smart dialogue — steers it through the lives of two people who can’t seem to tear themselves apart from each other — and the destructive behaviour they resort to in the process.
Eschewing many standard techniques of cinematic comedy, Covino relies on a series of beautifully choreographed single takes, one for each scene, allowing many of the most hilarious moments to come from the least expected places in the frame. This aesthetic, coupled with a clever structure (to reveal any more plot would ruin the layers of surprise), provide a breezy runway upon which Covino and his co-star Kyle Marvin foster a palpable, relatable honesty through their remarkable chemistry. With each comedic escalation, The Climb makes us not only cackle at the absurdity of its scenarios, but also ponder complex questions about the nature of male friendships.
“Toxic masculinity is played for rich and revealing farce in writer-director Michael Angelo Covino’s assured feature debut, told over multiple years.”
—Peter Howell, The Toronto Star