“The Peanut Butter Falcon”
RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2019
MPAA RATING: PG-13 (for thematic content, language throughout, some violence and smoking)
Every so often, a little film makes its way to the multiplex, competing among the blockbusters which have been backed by multimillion-dollar marketing campaigns.
One such independent film is called The Peanut Butter Falcon. It’s somewhat of a buddy film that throws together three characters whose paths otherwise may never have crossed.
The film features Shia LeBeouf, Dakota Johnson, and newcomer Zack Gottsagen, an actor with Down syndrome whose character is central to the film. All three characters are searching for something, and in a sense are also running from something.
Gottsagen portrays Zak, a runaway from a residential nursing home whose goal is to attend the wrestling training school he has learned about through the incessant viewing of videotapes depicting professional wrestler known as The Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). Johnson is Eleanor, a caring case worker who ultimately is reunited with Zak who has since come to develop a road trip friendship with Tyler (LeBeouf), a down on his luck fisherman whose lawlessness has caused him to be on the run from those who would do him harm.
The performances of these three principal actors are totally credible, enhanced by some very strong, nuanced supporting work delivered by Bruce Dern and the previously noted Church.
The film, directed and written by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, is entirely pleasing and includes somewhat of an homage to Mark Twain. Like a Twain story, The Peanut Butter Falcon is a journey well worth taking.