Film Review – The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)

Title – The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)

Director – Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz (feature debuts)

Cast – Zack Gottsagen, Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, John Hawkes, Thomas Haden Church, Bruce Dern, Jon Bernthal, Yelawolf

Plot – Down Syndrome Zak (Gottsagen) escapes from his restrictive aged-care home on his quest to become a pro-wrestler, a quest that will lead him to an unlikely friendship with loner Tyler (LaBeouf), as the two set about on a cross country journey.

“You are not invited to my birthday party!”

Review by Eddie on 31/01/2020

Born out of a promise debut feature filmmakers Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz made to their down syndrome friend and actor Zack Gottsagen, Peanut Butter Falcon is the type of well-meaning and loveable character study that rarely comes our way anymore, in what’s surely one of the year’s most purely enjoyable cinematic delights.

To be blunt, if you don’t enjoy your time with Falcon, the tale of Gottsagen’s wrestling obsessed Zak journey with Shia LaBeouf’s social outcast Tyler as the two become mismatched friends through odd circumstances, I’d be very concerned about the state of your heartbeat, as Nilson and Schwartz’s film is so full of heart, soul and joy, that’s its seemingly impossible not to wholeheartedly enjoy every little moment of this unique and smile-inducing tale.

Re-imagining the American staple of old, that see’s lost souls find themselves as they trek across the expanses of the land of opportunity, Falcon is something akin to a re-imagined Mark Twain as we join Zak and Tyler on their quest, that while relatively small-scale in scope in execution, never the less remains impactful and insightful in equal measure as an examination of the human condition and the power of friendship.

To be fair, there are slight elements of Falcon’s final product that aren’t delivered perfectly, most notably a rather rushed/slightly underwhelming ending but it’s hard to find films of this ilk these days that feel so lived in and born from a place of real beauty.

Front and centre to this joyful fable is both the announcement of a real genuine talent in the lead turn of Gottsagen and the rebirth of Shia LaBeouf, who after a number of years of questionable roles and even more questionable personal life occurrences, delivers one of the performances of his career as the lost and inwardly tormented Tyler, who despite a series of unfortunate life decisions, becomes a character we root for throughout the men’s trek.

Getting to watch the comically minded Gottsagen and LaBeouf play off against one another is one of the cinematic treats of the year, LaBeouf has reported in the times since Falcon wrapped shooting that this film and in particular Gottsagen helped recalibrate his life and its evident to see here with the talented but troubled actor playing out a performance that can only come from personal attachment and adoration for a role, helping ensure that the life affirming journey of Zak and Tyler will remain in the hearts and minds of cinemagoers for the years yet to come.

Final Say –

A small film with a heart of gold, Peanut Butter Falcon is an absolute joy to behold and an experience that is sure to live out a long a healthy life amongst movie fans that continue to discover it over the years yet to come.

4 birthday party invites out of 5   

9 responses to “Film Review – The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)

  1. Agree with your position. Very pleased. Movie had a great sense of place and I loved LeBouf’s commitment to the character instead of just playing a generic redneck. There are a lot of formulaic “road films” where unlikely couplings bond over a journey, but this one felt very authentic.

    • Was so unique and heartfelt, was lovely watching a film that just felt like it came from a really organic place and the actors really shone together.

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