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Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot Review – An Extraordinary Film that Delivers Powerful Performances

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Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot, from Amazon Studios, brings to the screen the true story of John Callahan, and his amazing transformation from broken, directionless alcoholic to paralyzed, sober, artist who finds purpose.

Directed by Gus Van Sant, Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot stars Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, Jack Black, Tony Greenhand, Beth Ditto, Mark Weber, Ronnie Adrian, Kim Gordon, Edo Kier and Carrie Brownstein.

Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot begins with voice over from Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Jonathan Callahan, explaining in retrospect the last day he walked. Addressing a crowd his story is the same told to many or few, and begins with "The last day I walked."


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He recounts his actions and getting the next drink, the only thing that mattered. Alcohol was his light, life, consuming fire, destruction, lover, friend, freedom, on this day, the last day he walked, it was his everything.

Drunk before 10am, was common and that day was no different. Traveling the liquid highway through the day, he ends up at a party where he meet, Dexter, played by Jack Black, and the two proceed to attempt to drink each other under the table.

Even through the alcoholic haze they each knew the other was in no condition to drive and voiced it, as it the pronunciation was tennis and the words simply a volley waiting to see who would drop first and who would drive.

Dexter held out and ended behind the wheel, Jonathan, a passenger fell to sleep. Soon, the next scene is Jonathan on a stretcher, strapped in, being turned and treated as an animal, in a severe trauma unit where the average patient remains alive for 12 hours.

Dexter, it seems, wrapped the Volkswagen Beatle around a light pole at 90mph after falling asleep at the wheel.

This moment, of course, is where the film shifts into the rise from the ashes triumph over circumstance and of the human spirit. The epiphany for Jonathan isn't immediate.

Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot brings every element for a perfect symphonic crescendo, direction, dialogue, a well-written script, with powerful characters. Adding the exceptional talent to drives this indie film to something deeply resonating and memorable.

With Jonathan paralyzed, Joaquin takes on this meaty role, with the many shades and variations, and embodies the character and delivers an extraordinary performance. I want to say, expected perfection.

It is the fullness of the cast that elevates this film into indie gold. Jonah Hill is unrecognizable as Donnie, the gay AA leader who has found peace with himself and his life. He speaks the dialogue with great authenticity, coming from a place that is able to project a truth of actuality. He is the light to these souls who have taken the necessary steps to get to the place where they can at least see their need.

His words, "Call me before you drink, not after"  authentic and mantralike that one can leave the theater and replace "drink" with ones addication or obsession and even while there is no one to call, the soothing remembrances are enough.

Rooney Mara, who plays Annu, and in one of those God, Higher Power, or cosmic ordained meetings, she shows up when he has no control over the situation and couldn't be in a worse place. Her accent is flawless and she appears angelic in contrast to his live in caregiver, Tim, played by Tony Greenhand.

The film also shows the abuse of power and people when they are in need. Social workers threaten, caregivers are bullies, abusers and worse.

Of course, we finally see the man Jonathan was born to be and he unfortunately couldn't find him until he was stripped of everything that kept getting in the way.


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I was so impressed with this film and especially the moments when the cast of characters delve into the Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.

Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot is truly a compelling story on simply a surface level. The characters who form this band of brothers linked by former lives filled with pain and alcoholism and new lives free from addiction, while still reaping the leftover harvest from the addiction deprivations is played superbly, without flaw, a perfectly constructed and acted film.

Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot is a beautiful testament to the power of AA, to the human spirit, to hope, to finding the people who nurture, who listen without judgement, who call out the halfhearted effort, the bullshit, and won't leave.

An extraordinary film that delivers commanding, intense, performances which should be considered during awards season, Don't Worry He Won't Get Far on Foot opens everywhere July 13, 2018. See this film.

 

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