Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Release: The Climb (2019)

Digital, Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Available now
Price: DVD $17.99, Blu-ray $29.99
Studio: Sony

Now available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital, The Climb was reviewed by Irv when it was released theatrically last year. Here’s his review:

Based on a short film that was shown at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and written and directed by lifelong friends, The Climb tells of the on-again, off-again relationship of close pals Michael (co-writer/director Michael Angelo Covino), a good-looking athletic guy, and nerdy, foggy-voiced  Kyle (co-writer Kyle Marvin). Presented as a series of chapters in the leading characters’ lives, the film gets off to a bang as a secret is made known while on a biking trip in Normandy: Michael has been sleeping with Kyle’s French girlfriend (Judith Godrèche, Potiche).

The revelation serves as a set-up for the edgy, funny and often bittersweet travails of Kyle and Michael over the years. The two men weave in and out of each other’s lives, but often awkwardly encounter each other at events–ski trips, funerals, ice fishing bachelor parties and a hectic Thanksgiving dinner where Mike is recruited to ruin the engagement of Kyle’s old girlfriend (Gayle Rankin, The Greatest Showman).  Adding laughs to the Thanksgiving scene is the presence of George Wendt (Sandy Wexler) and Talia Balsam (Little Men) as Kyle’s unpredictable parents.

The Climb is smartly written, filled with snappy dialogue and oddball behavior that subverts familiar situations. It’s also well-photographed, boasting unusual tracking shots and longer-than-expected takes. Amidst Michael and Kyle’s banter during these takes, there’s always a hint that trouble is just around the corner. And it usually is.

There’s a definite nostalgic Big Chill vibe that permeates this bromance. In lieu of American oldies on the soundtrack, however, we get emotional ballads performed in French by the late singer/composer Gilbert Bécaud .

While relative newcomers Covino and Marvin should be applauded for making their characters fallible and not very likable at times, they are not all that interesting, either. As proven here, there’s a thin line between shtick and genuine introspection, and this film has a habit of substituting the former for the latter.

Nevertheless, The Climb is being hailed as one of the top indie efforts of the year, and will likely receive some love on year-end top ten lists and in upcoming Zoom-enhanced award ceremonies.

We have to say that we like quite a bit of what’s in the film, but there are character issues here that make parts of it an uphill climb.

Buy or Rent The Climb



About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.