A low-budgeter gamer a release just as the devastating COVID-19 global pandemic really started to surge in the U.S. is this assured debut from Michael Angelo Covino.
The Climb features Covino and co-writer Kyle Marvin in an extension of an applauded short having roles with the own (first) names as best friends from childhood.
Sharp observational wit is evident throughout in what has the south of France as the initial backdrop where a cycling route provides insight into their messiness milieu in a septet of chapters.
Prior to Kyle wedding French amour Ava (Judith Godreche) while on a tough incline Michael discloses how close he’s been with her. Afterwards, a tragic event brings draws the torn apart buddies together. As time passes on their dynamic shifts as an old friend Marissa (Gayle Rankin) becomes a more important figure in their lives.
As adults Covino adeptly modulates the action where childhood roles appear to have a prevailing tendency. Even if going through various stages of rites of passage would normally promote some kind of morphing.
The way it all plays out with a stylishness in the filmmaking that may make viewers of the recent 1917 take notice has a kind of exhilarating effect. While the interplay between the characters feel very genuine and quite funny at times amid reversals and underhandedness.
Being in the company of Covino and Marvin bodes quite well from their closeness off the screen to allow for a palpable sincerity. And Rankin proves lively in responding to Covino’s human touch to help make a series of vignettes hardly the endurance test as suggested by its title.