Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
It's SWITCH's 8th anniversary! Click here now to join the celebrations and win huge prizes!x
review, Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot, Don't, Worry,, He, Won't, Get, Far, On, Foot, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Mark Webber, Udo Kier, Carrie Brownstein, Beth Ditto, Kim Gordon, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Gus Van Sant film rating

DON'T WORRY, HE WON'T GET FAR ON FOOT

★★

A BIOPIC VOID OF HUMANITY

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
10th September 2018

The biopic is cinema’s greatest double-edged sword - while you have a wealth of unbelievably true possibilities to work with, aptly compacting someone’s life into a digestible film is often much tricker than it seems. Entertainment and adhering to the facts often blur, and the focus - the soul of the person at the centre of the story - can sometimes get lost along the way. ‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot’ aims to bringing to the big screen the life of John Callahan, a quadriplegic artist - but can the film capture the nuances of this complex character?

Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix, ‘You Were Never Really Here’, 'Her') is directionless in life, relying on alcohol to get him through the lonely nights... and days. When a wild night out with new friend Dexter (Jack Black, ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’, 'Goosebumps', ‘School of Rock’) leaves him paralysed, John has some major adjustments to make in his life - both getting a hold on his alcoholism, and coming to terms with spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.

'DON'T WORRY, HE WON'T GET FAR ON FOOT' TRAILER

Joaquin Phoenix is an actor who utterly transforms himself into his characters - sometimes for the better, other times less so. Here, it tends to be the latter, most likely due to his attempted encapsulation of the real life John Callahan. The major issue is that, between the screenplay and the performance, John comes off as an absolute asshole for the majority of the film. There’s very little that’s redeeming about him, with him constantly horrendous to those around him, even those who continue to help him. What seems lacking is John’s feeling of shame in his situation - he’s so frequently furious, frustrated, reprimanding, that we never see him really regret his decision to drink. Granted, the film is meant to portray the negative effects of alcoholism, but even after being involved in an accident which profoundly changes his life, there’s barely a sliver of goodness for the audience to connect with.

The other serious issue is that, when that redemption does begin to occur, it’s in both a very pontifical and gradational way. John turns to Alcoholic Anonymous to help him deal with his drinking problem, but it’s such an insider’s look into the cult-ish organisation that its messages come off as excessively preachy. We actually have to endure John going through all 12 steps in order to achieve self-improvement, so much so that the latter half of the film is both unnecessarily agonising and pretentious.

There are some glimmers of hope in the film - Rooney Mara (‘Mary Magdalene’, ‘Carol’, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’) is a breath of fresh air here as John’s girlfriend Annu, bringing a much-needed touch of tenderness to the story. Jonah Hill (‘War Dogs’, ‘21 Jump Street’ franchise) is also having a lot of fun as Donnie, John’s AA sponsor, whose personality comes off somewhere between a hippie, a guru and Jesus. He brings the best glimpses of humour to the film, the light contrast to John’s raging darkness.

John comes off as an absolute asshole for the majority of the film. There’s very little that’s redeeming about him, with him constantly horrendous to those around him, even those who continue to help him. What seems lacking is John’s feeling of shame in his situation.

Director and co-writer Gus Van Sant (‘Milk’, ’Elephant’, ‘Good Will Hunting’) sadly bears a lot of the blame for the film’s downfallings. In a strange twist of styles, he chooses to blend moments of surrealism with brutal reality, a technique that never really gels. Visually, the film is fairly unremarkable otherwise - we’re subjected to stereotypical tones of the 1970s, bland yet warm yellows and browns, adorned with a touch of teal pastel.

The story is also presented in a non-linear timeline, and as we jump between moments in John’s life, the presentation is convoluted enough to make it difficult to keep track of when and where we are. To add to the confusion, characters dip in and out of John’s life inconsistently - Rooney Mara’s Annu comes and goes as is convenient to the plot - and practically no one has any kind of back story to speak of - it’s not until almost the very end of the film we learn why Donnie is living such an extravagant lifestyle. There are also recurring jokes delivered by Phoenix which are stale at best on first delivery, but become eye-rollingly pathetic as the story drags on.

‘Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot’ does itself no favours with a lead character who offers no chance of empathy from the audience, but its worst fault is its screenplay. More dismal than dark comedy, and more an advertisement for AA than a tale of redemption, this lacklustre biopic from Gus Van Sant is missing the genre’s most important trait - humanity. An opportunity to show how someone can change has been sincerely missed.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 27/09/2018
RUN TIME: 1h 53m
CAST: Joaquin Phoenix
Jonah Hill
Rooney Mara
Jack Black
Mark Webber
Udo Kier
Carrie Brownstein
Beth Ditto
Kim Gordon
Rebecca Rittenhouse
DIRECTOR: Gus Van Sant
WRITERS: John Callahan
Gus Van Sant
Jack Gibson
William Andrew Eatman
PRODUCERS: Charles-Marie Anthonioz
Mourad Belkeddar
Nicolas Lhermitte
Steve Golin
DontWorry.Movie
DontWorryMovie
DontWorryMovie
DontWorryMovie
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
SWITCH's 8th Anniversary - Come celebrate with us and take home a huge prize pack!
TRENDINGWIN SWITCH'S 8TH ANNIVERSARYCome celebrate with us and take home a huge prize pack!
12 Monkeys: Seasons One & Two - Slick sci-fi drama offers humanity's last hope
TRENDINGWIN 12 MONKEYS: SEASONS ONE & TWOSlick sci-fi drama offers humanity's last hope
Freaks - A post-apocalyptic sci-fi mystery
TRENDINGWIN FREAKSA post-apocalyptic sci-fi mystery
The Angry Birds Movie 2 - A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure for the whole family
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Your chance to take home The Complete Seasons 1 - 4
TRENDINGWIN UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDTYour chance to take home The Complete Seasons 1 - 4
E Street: Collection One - A trip down memory lane with this classic Aussie TV drama
TRENDINGWIN E STREET: COLLECTION ONEA trip down memory lane with this classic Aussie TV drama
Mr Holland's Opus - Music to your ears
TRENDINGWIN MR HOLLAND'S OPUSMusic to your ears
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
Playing with Fire - Put out this flaming mess
TRENDINGPLAYING WITH FIREPut out this flaming mess
Marriage Story - Simply extraordinary
TRENDINGMARRIAGE STORYSimply extraordinary
Finding Farideh - An emotional & moving documentary for Iran's Oscar submission
TRENDINGFINDING FARIDEHAn emotional & moving documentary for Iran's Oscar submission
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
The Wild Goose Lake - Supremely stylish neon-noir
TRENDINGTHE WILD GOOSE LAKESupremely stylish neon-noir
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
The Addams Family - They're altogether boring, the Addams Family
TRENDINGTHE ADDAMS FAMILYThey're altogether boring, the Addams Family
Frozen 2 - Elsa and Anna return with the magic (mostly) intact
TRENDINGFROZEN 2Elsa and Anna return with the magic (mostly) intact
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
The Queen's Corgi - Barking up the wrong tree
TRENDINGTHE QUEEN'S CORGIBarking up the wrong tree
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
What Will Become Us - The man behind an iconic Australian brand
TRENDINGWHAT WILL BECOME USThe man behind an iconic Australian brand
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us