Kyle and Mike are best friends who share a close bond - until Mike sleeps with Kyle's fiancée. The Climb is about a tumultuous but enduring relationship between two men across many years of laughter, heartbreak and rage. It is also the story of real-life best friends who turn their profound connection into a rich, humane and frequently uproarious film about the boundaries (or lack thereof) in all close friendships.
It was scheduled to be released on March 20, 2020. Because the COVID-19 pandemic, was rescheduled to July 17, 2020. Newly, because the COVID-19 pandemic, was delayed to October 9, 2020. And finally, to November 13 2020. See more »
Michael Angelo Covino's directorial debut is a small indie dramedy about two friends, Mike (whom he plays) and Kyle. They have a lasting friendship and a variety of shared interests including cycling, but things start to get dicey right off the bat in the film's opening chapter when Mike reveals that he's having an affair with Kyle's fiancee. The rest of the film is essentially a bunch of vignettes of their personal, and evolving romantic lives. It's cut in several chapters, most of which have very few takes. While this creates some moderately engaging cinematography within the context of a very low-budget indie dramedy, the rest of the film is sadly rather bland and forgettable.
As leading characters, Kyle and Mike aren't especially all that interesting. Kyle is the more redeeming one, with a more impactful yet still modest home and familial life; whereas Mike's flaws are abundantly clear even well past his affair. While they both are developed, they're not especially that interesting. The chemistry between them on screen is fine, but it's not too engaging. Their characterizations don't feel especially original, much less anything we haven't seen before. It seems that Covino's message is that viewers should understand that even their close friends can make major mistakes and are very flawed, but he doesn't do an especially unique or original job trying to get this point across over the course of the story. While we know that Mike is not trustworthy, the plot doesn't end up really reflecting this in the way it should on how Kyle's personality evolves over the course of the story. The film's down-to-earth script has a few mildly funny moments here and there as well as a more serious side, but the effectiveness of the various situations the characters find themselves in (biking together, a funeral, celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas with family, a wedding, and so forth) aren't really made more impactful by the dialogue. The film is paced briskly and edited well, but its formulaic character development and not-completely-engaging plot makes the film's narrative run out of gas a bit before the credits roll. Since the film is a character-driven piece, it doesn't really captivate the viewer at all since we're never especially captivated by the characters or how the writing defines them to be. Overall, this was a fine and passable independent comedy-drama, but it doesn't quite justify the acclaim it received from Sundance back in January. 6/10
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