The Peanut Butter Falcon – Film Review
Director(s): Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Writers(s): Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz
Actors: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, John Hawkes
Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is a young man with Down Syndrome. He lives in a retirement home and is under the care of Eleanor (Dakota Johnson). He has already made several attempts to run away from the home and dreams of becoming a wrestler. He wants to go to a wrestling school set up by his hero, the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). One night, with the help of his room mate Carl (Bruce Dern), he escapes and sets out on the road wearing only a pair of y-fronts! Along the way, he encounters Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), and the rest, as they say, is history.
This film is written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, who are a team that have made some shorts together previously such as the Coen brothers inspired ‘The Moped Diaries’ in 2014, which is worth watching below if you can spare ten minutes. This film is their debut feature and while it is a relatively conventional indie film, it is quite heart warming.
It stars Shia LaBeouf who is a fascinating character. He looked like he was destined to be an A-list star in Hollywood, with roles in major releases such as Transformers and the relatively awful Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Due to a combination of his bad boy antics and some unusual career choices, he is now starring in some quirky indie films. He was one of the main characters in the wonderful Andrea Arnold release from 2016 ‘American Honey’ and in 2017 he starred as McEnroe in the film Borg vs. McEnroe. He seems to be making some interesting work and is an actor to look out for.
The story tells of our two travellers as they meet a variety of oddballs along the road and have a series of minor adventures together. There is something quite positive about the film, and your heart will be warmed by it despite your best efforts to keep it otherwise! Shia LaBeouf has long since made up for his errors earlier in his career and is quite impressive in this work. His character is a relatively straight forward drifter, but he plays it well. The plot never dwells on anything for too long, keeping their characters moving in this unlikely but fun piece of escapism.