The current isolation helps you pick up little movie ‘gems’ – like this heart-warming Mark Twain-esque tale.
It never made it to Showcase after its January launch (it only reached smaller ‘art house’ style cinemas), and this story about a boy with Down’s Syndrome who wants to make it as a wrestler, has now just hit digital release on platforms like Sky and Amazon.
And though it fell shy of Oscar-nomination recognition (after garnering a swarm of regional nods) it’s well worth watching to see Hollywood ‘bad boy’ Shia LaBeouf – star of the original Transformers trilogy, Disturbia and Fury – return to form, along with a breakout performance from Zack Gottsagen (who actually has the genetic disorder).
LaBeouf stars as outlaw Tyler – a man struggling with the death of his brother Mark (Jon Bernthal) – who makes whatever money he can by illegal fishing on the shores of North Carolina.
But when Gottsagen’s Zak escapes the confines of his nursing home to chase his dream of becoming a professional wrestler by attending a wrestling school run by his hero ‘Salt Water Redneck’ (Oscar-nominee Thomas Haden Church), he stows away in Tyler’s boat, who’s trying to escape the clutches of fishing rival Duncan (Oscar-nominee John Hawkes) after torching his property as payback for being ‘beaten up’.
This leads the duo on a spiritual journey as Tyler finds the friendship he lost after the death of his brother, and Zak finds the new lease of life he’s been yearning for – with his friend from the nursing home Eleanor (Fifty Shades of Grey’s Dakota Johnson) trying to track him down.
If you’re not into low-budget slow-burning methodical stories – then this American ‘back water’ tale of redemption may be lost on some people.
But watching Zak look to live his dream as the peanut butter-loving wannabe wrestler ‘Falcon’ can’t help put a smile on your face, as LeBeouf, Johnson, a star-studded cast (that also includes Oscar-nominee Bruce Dern) – and especially young Gottsagen – all play their part to concoct a noteworthy movie that deserves attention.
For it helps this Down’s Syndrome star spread his wings and fly – in front of the camera and undoubtedly off it too.
Which is worth the rental price alone.
Cast: Shia Labeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, Jon Bernthal, Mick Foley & Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts
Running Time: 1 Hr 37 Mins
Directors: Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz