I laughed hysterically during the opening scene of The Climb, the brilliantly original indie bromance by Michael Angelo Covino. The setting is France, where two Americans – best friends since childhood – are on vacation by bike. Mike (played by Covino) is head to toe in Lycra, loathing cycling terminology. His distorted friend Kyle (co-writer Kyle Marvin), is lagging behind, huffing and panting. Mike waits for the start of a particularly difficult climb to admit that he is sleeping with Kyle’s fiancÃ©e. Kyle: “You are like a real Judas!” Mike: âOn the positive side, that makes you Jesus. At one point, Kyle gets off his bike and carries it, up the hill in pursuit of Mike. Tragedy and slapstick run through the film and it’s very funny.
The Climb traces the ups and downs of Kyle and Mike’s toxic friendship over a dozen years – and I can’t think of a male friends movie told with such microscopic attention to detail.
It is structured in seven chapters. Chapter Two takes place at a funeral a few years later – the first time the men have looked at each other since the bike ride. The tables have turned. Mike is going to sow, drink too much, disappointed in life – and it becomes evident that he is an endemic narcissist. Meanwhile, the nice Kyle lost weight and had a little success writing advertising jingles. If he feels a whiff of schadenfreude when he sees how nuts Mike looks, he disguises him. The chapter ends with a hilarious altercation at the edge of a grave involving a shovel.
Co-writers Covino and Rankin are friends and observe their characters beautifully. They don’t ignore female roles either. Gayle Rankin is just as memorable as Kyle’s partner Marissa – like everyone here, she feels like someone you might know. My only disappointment was having to watch it at home: I wanted to be in a movie theater laughing at inappropriate and funny passages with other people.