Film Review: The Climb

Michael Angelo Covino’s The Climb is a suitably entertaining comedy drama. Covino shows considerable skill with this feature debut.

Best friends Michael and Kyle are on a cycling trip when Michael decides to drop a bombshell on his pal. Over a number of years, their friendship has its ups and downs as they go through major life events…

Co-written, directed by and starring Michael Angelo Covino, The Climb is about the peaks and troughs of a friendship over a number of years. Mike and Kyle’s friendship dominates the narrative, although a small number of other characters have input. 

The friendship between the pair is tumultuous to say the least. This is sometimes a cause of humour. At other times, filmmaker aims at realism in depicting a long-term relationship. Given the uneven nature of the relationship, it a little unsatisfying that the film concludes the way it does. The Climb explores flawed characters, and an at times unhealthy relationship.

The film is divided into a number of chapters, which explore a different time or events of significant importance. The use of chapter names works well to signpost critical times in the pair’s lives. The use of musical interludes is less effective however, and are jarring rather than humorous. 

The Climb blends comedy and drama in a mostly natural way. Humour is not always present, but there are some hilarious moments in the film. The more serious aspects carry sufficient weight. Covino shows real flair with his camerawork and direction. There are some really nice touches in the film, such as a striking reverse tracking shot. Performances by Michael and Kyle Marvin (who also co-writes the film) are good, their interactions appear most authentic. Gayle Rankin offers good support as Marissa.

The Climb is a suitably enjoyable debut, and a great advertisement for Covino’s skill behind the camera.

The Climb is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2019.