The Climb

Well worth a look is this inventive US indie comedy, written by and starring and directed by its two leads, Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin, both of whom now burst onto the scene a bit like Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn did with Swingers almost 25 years ago. 

They play two lifelong best friends Mike and Kyle and the film’s opening scene is one of the best of the year, with the two of them on a biking holiday in France, when Mike admits he’s been sleeping with Kyle’s fiancee. Puffing uphill, Kyle can’t catch up with Mike to start a fight. It’s very funny, but also brilliantly symbolic of male friendship, rivalry, frustration, one-upmanship, all sorts of toxic shit you get between bros.

The film is told in chapters and lurches forward through weddings, funerals, Thanksgivings and ski trips and each time, the friends are in a different spot, although it always seems to be Mike who’s coming along to fuck Kyle up, just when Kyle might be getting his life together. A life that doesn’t suit Mike. And actually doesn’t really suit Kyle anyway.

It’s shot with some impressive one-take sequences, more like the sort of film you get with Scandi’s like Thomas Vinterberg or Ruben Ostlund than with Will Ferrell and John C Reilly, but those are good references anyway. The Climb was a bit of a surprise winner among the Un Certain Regard prizes at Cannes 2019, not because it isn’t good, but because Cannes winners aren’t usually so accessible and relatable and fun – but this is a really great example of the bromance genre and intros us to some fresh new voices in American indie cinema. In lycra.