VOD film review: The Climb
Ivan Radford | On 06, Mar 2021
Director: Michael Angelo Covino
Cast: Kyle Marvin, Michael Angelo Covino, Gayle Rankin
Watch The Climb online in the UK: iTunes / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store / CHILI
“You’re not my best man anymore.” “But I wrote a speech.” That’s Kyle (Kyle Marvin) and Mike (Michael Angelo Covino) in The Climb, a spikily hilarious bromance that charts the growing pains of two close male friends – growing pains that only get more painful the older they get.
We first meet them in France on a cycling holiday where, just as they hit a challenging peak, Mike admits that he’s been sleeping with Kyle’s fiancee. Kyle splutters and screams in anger, then pants and gasps in exhaustion, as he struggles to pedal faster to catch up with his friend. It’s a masterclass in awkward comedy, as the pair alternate between slinging insults and Mike offering condescending cycling tips.
That flawless set piece sets the tone for an exquisite piece of tragic comedy, one that’s beautifully brought to life by its central duo. Written by and starring Covino and Marvin, the pair radiate honesty and sincerity in every inch of their brotherly relationship, excavating the tensions of a close-knit masculine bond with forensic detail. We see them betray each other, support each other, abandon each other and, along the way, turn to drink, throw themselves into work, navigate romances that do and don’t suit them and, in one moment, fight at a funeral.
Their female partners get just as much attention, from Judith Godreche’s Ava, who can’t help herself, to Gayle Rankin’s Marissa, who will go to any length to try and separate the two men. But there’s no dismantling this two-hander, and from toxic moments to genuine affection, it’s wonderful to see in action. At the helm, Covino has an excellent handle on tone throughout, with one musical segment involving gravediggers adding a beautifully soulful note to a heartfelt study of best friends at their worst and best.