I recently watched the short film, ‘The Climb’ it’s a comedy of two friends out cycling together. The story is refreshingly simple and the setting is beautiful. This live action short premiered in the narrative competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. It was directed by Michael Covino and produced by Kyle Marvin, both star as themselves in the film.
The film is 8 minutes long and shows two friends cycling to the top of a hill somewhere in America. The purpose of this bike ride is to help Kyle get out and exercising after becoming slightly depressed about his girlfriend leaving him. The story takes an interesting turn when Kyle’s best friend, Mike, gets something off his chest. The bike ride was supposed to be a therapeutic and healing activity for Kyle, but turns out to be anything but.
The story is about friendship and the difficulties that can occur in a friendship. This particular friendship has just hit a bump in the road, and it is comical to see the two try to resolve their differences.
They shot the film in one take, which is effective because they are cycling up a very steep hill, so the exhaustion from the riders adds to the humour and tension of the piece. The comedy value comes from Kyle’s pain in his love life, his struggle to climb the hill and his frustration with his friend Mike.
Kyle’s emotions fluctuate dramatically throughout this piece, he begins quite depressed speaking about his ex-girlfriend, and how much he appreciates his best friend for taking him out on a cycle ride to help him. Mike seems quite cool about helping his friend and mainly focuses the conversation on cycling. Mike then reveals some news to Kyle which is both shocking to the audience and to Kyle. Deeply angered by the news we see Kyle go from being a little hopeless and defeatist to alert and enraged. This is where the comedy really starts setting in, the audience can empathise with Kyle and his frustration, but it is hard to take his anger seriously when he is clearly struggling to cycle up the hill. As Kyle shouts angrily to his friend (who is far more athletic and much farther ahead on the hill) his friend simply replies with advice to help him tackle the hill.
Most of the camera shots in the film are wide, which is effective as it really shows the vastness of nature and the beauty surrounding them. These wide shots also help the audience to appreciate the steepness and difficulty of the hill. As tensions arise the camera cuts in closer to each actor, helping the audience to really see the emotion of each character.
I enjoyed how much story the actors were able to convey in such a simple setting, the script is well written and I really enjoyed the juxtaposition between the two characters; one quite dynamic and competitive the other laid-back and funny. It is clear that the two care about each other greatly, so even when they are arguing it is evident that they both want to reach a happy solution. This adds to the comedy, because even though the film has a lot of tension, the nature of their relationship causes it to become more lighthearted.
Would thoroughly recommend people to watch the film, a great way to spend 8 minutes of your time.