‘The Climb’ DVD Review: A Breath of Fresh Air

The Climb DVD Review

I had never heard of The Climb, much less seen it, so I was not sure entirely what to expect when I got a copy of the release. I was very pleasantly surprised by what I found. 

To give you a taste, let me give you a breakdown of the opening scene. Mike and Kyle are cycling up a steep hill when Mike confesses that he has been sleeping with Kyle’s fiancé. Understandably angry, Kyle tries to catch up with Mike, who has moved comfortably ahead. While chasing Mike, Mike uses the experience to motivate his longtime friend to coach on his pedaling rate. Mike is trying to keep the situation positive, and when Kyle calls him Judas, he points out that means Kyle is Jesus. That kind of sums up the film in that scene. These are two best friends since childhood. In some ways, they are toxic for each other, but in others, they trust each other and rely on each other 100%.

The film is quite unusual in its presentation. It has seven distinct chapters that are seemingly unrelated. The scenes take place days, years, or weeks apart from each other. Just like in real life, the characters gain and lose weight at different points in their lives. In-between the chapters, we have music, usually French music, which makes even the most awkward scenes seem light-hearted. And some scenes are awkward. The direction of the film plays out the awkwardness for all it’s worth. Nothing is done just for style or to show off. There are uncomfortable long shots where the characters (and us) are stuck in a certain spot, just stewing on their emotions. 

There are scenes where the camera work very cleverly does not reveal the background or things just off-camera to amazing effect. Once it reveals what we don’t see, you practically lose it at points. The film manages to make the most difficult situations feel like something you can laugh at.

I think part of what makes this film such a success is the relationship of the two main characters (who are best friends in real life). In today’s culture, some might come to the idea of toxic masculinity as the underlying theme, which is hurting both main characters, but I don’t think this is the case. I think the film shrewdly points out that humans and their relationships are tricky things, especially lifelong friendships. You can’t usually pin it down to one aspect or facet of the relationship. Sure, relationships can be toxic, but the same relationship can be safe in its own way, and it’s important to understand that.

In a world where we see “bromance” movies all of the time with predictable outcomes, and we see stylized camera work that tries to be fancy just to show that it can be, The Climb is a breath of fresh air. It offers a realistic look into the relationship between two men and uses the camera to the fullest effect getting the most out of every scene. I highly recommend it. 

The Climb is available on Blu-ray and DVD today from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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