#REVIEW: “DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT”
Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot is based on the true story of alcoholic turned popular cartoonist John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix). After an all-night bender of heavy drinking Callahan and his very recent friend, Dexter (Jack Black), get into Dexter’s car. When Dexter begins to fall asleep at the wheel, a tragic car accident occurs, and the last thing Callahan wants to do is give up drinking. However, after being persuaded to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting he gets encouraged to continue with the program thanks to his charismatic sponsor, Donnie (Jonah Hill). As his road to sobriety becomes more clear, he begins to realize his love and gift for drawing irreverent newspaper cartoons.
Director and Screenwriter Gus Van Sant tells Callahan’s story in a non-linear, thematic form. This generates a unique take to the common addiction to recovery story. Van Sant flips through multiple timelines throughout Callahan’s life, such as: before the accident, AA meetings, public speeches and more. This results in the tone of the Film consistently changing between comedic and tragic, which echoes the often unpredictability of recovery. However, Van Sant decides to focus more on Callahan’s road to recovery rather than his career as a cartoonist.
Phoenix’s subtle performance results in him completely disappearing into Callahan. Phoenix grasps hold of everything along Callahan’s journey: his pain of being an orphan, his carelessness when an alcoholic, and his enlightenment when reaching recovery. He shines brightest in the AA meeting scenes where he displays all range of emotion. Although Phoenix is the lead, it’s two supporting actors who explode on screen. Hill is enigmatic as sponsor Donnie, who will captivate and snatch every scene he’s in. While Black delivers an emotionally-raw scene when Dexter and Callahan finally meet again, years after the accident. Phoenix and Black’s chemistry before and after the incident is a tremendous feat.
Overall, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot has powerful performances and offers a unique addiction to recovery story structure.
Elevation Pictures will release DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT on Friday, July 20, 2018.