Film Review: The Peanut Butter Falcon
PUBLISHED: 17:22 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:22 08 October 2019
The debut feature from Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz sees Shia LaBeof continue his run of strong, edgy turns and features a star-making turn from Zack Gottsagen.
Set in a fishing town in North Carolina, the film sees Zak (Gottsagen), a 22 year-old with Down Syndrome escape from a residential home to pursue his dream of becoming a professional wrestler.
He forms a bond with troubled thief Tyler (LaBoef) and the pair soon find themselves pursued by vengeful miscreant Duncan (John Hawkes) and Zak's carer Eleanor (Dakota Johnson)
As the initially fractious relationship between the two fast grows into a warm, fraternal bond the directors deftly blend sweet, often lough-out-loud - moments -Tyler teaching Zak to swim and an emotional, seaside heart-to-heart are particularly affecting scenes - with substantial emotional heft and, at times, nail-biting tension.
It's the chemistry between the two actors that is the soul of the film. Gottsagen is an immensely likeable lead often stealing scenes from the rest of the talented cast and a restrained, sensitive Laboef delivers, arguably, his best performance.
Johnson is every bit their equal, perfectly rounding out the loveable trio and Hawkes' antagonist and Thomas Hayden Church's veteran wrestler Clint respectively bring plenty of menace and heart to the proceedings.
While an element of suspension of disbelief is required for the film's final act and some might baulk at the 'Hollywood' style ending this is a heart-warming reminder of the power and importance of love, family and human decency.