Don Reviews "The Peanut Butter Falcon"
My love for professional wrestling is well-known, but what may not be is how passionate I am for people who are mentally challenged. I actually have two step-brothers who deal with issues of this type, and with as difficult as the world today is, I am that much more motivated to help where I can in this category. Both of these things play a role in the new film, “The Peanut Butter Falcon”.
Written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, newcomer Zack Gottsagen plays Zak, who is mentally challenged, with no family, and lives in a state ran retirement community where he watches videos of his favorite professional wrestler “The Salt-Water Redneck” (Thomas Haden Church), who advertises his wrestling school. Zak dreams of being a part of his school, so he escapes from the retirement home to be a part of it. As his journey begins, he meets a crab fisherman named Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who lost his brother and has hit bad times, so he is on a mission to get to Florida to employment and get a fresh start while running from some guys he wronged. Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), Zak’s caseworker at the facility given the task to find him and bring him back to the facility ends up with them in an unlikely friendship and a journey with no assets while trying to stay under the radar of those looking for them.
Johnson, LaBeouf and Gottsagen all do not disappoint, but I have to give it up to Gottsagen, who is actually living with Down’s Syndrome. At the screening I attended, the directors did a Q&A session where we found out that Zack ad-libbed a lot in this film, which (along with his love for professional wrestling) made his role more believable. When it comes to the look and scenery, I was impressed although I thought the film took place in Louisiana where it was actually in North Carolina. The biggest thing that impressed me here was that the filming actually took place in Georgia, which I never thought of Georgia having the marshlands that the film actually shows.
The main storyline is basic, but it works by breaking a lot of the “mainstream rules” of film making with just two people on a journey and living off the land, with a few minor sub plots. This film made me happy, sad and mad, but all in a good way. I loved “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and will definitely recommend this film as the coveted full price in the theaters recommendation.