Review: Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot


Title: Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot
Rating: R
Director: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins

What It Is: Based on the memoir, Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant gives us a biographical comedy-drama about famous cartoonist John Callahan (Phoenix) as he struggles with his alcohol addiction in the aftermath of a serious accident that left him nearly completely paralyzed. He sets onto the road to recuperation with the help and guidance of a nurse, Annu, (Mara) and AA guru Donnie Green (Hill), and others.

What We Think: What we have here is a solid, to-the-point, feel-good biography. You’ve seen em. Those charming biographical dramas about an inspiring real-life person whose larger-than-life character goes through some sort of trauma and/or adversity. Usually, they tend to be pretty one-note in that aspect—not necessarily a bad thing as they are good enough to be positive and showcase a talented actor. That’s what we’ve got—Don’t Worry is successful as a little film about one cool guy starring another cool guy. The performances from the Top-Billed are solid, if not the most enjoyable part of the film (as obviously intended). Phoenix is a hoot to watch as he balances the drama and the unique, down-to-earth humour that is Callahan’s personality. By his on-point delivery, we get a realism that empathizes with Callahan’s accident and painful recovery but doesn’t wallow in his grief so much as focuses on trying to move forward. Jonah Hill, as always, is amazing and also lends himself to a transformative performance. The film, despite being nearly two hours, has good editing and overall good pacing, though isn’t the most memorable as it is predictable. Other than the spunk of the intercutting animated cartoons and the performances by Phoenix, Hill, and Black, the film is bogged down by a myriad of annoying and petty characters and predictability. I can remember most of what happens in the movie; I can’t say I was completely invested, impressed, or entertained by it.

Our Grade: C+, A hardy tribute to the artist himself, this is a film that’s great for you if you’re into this sort of thing. With endearing moments of biting humor, solid cinematography and camerawork, and some (unsurprisingly) compelling performances Don’t Worry is a commemoration to Callahan’s work as much as it is to its A-class actors.

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