DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT
Joaquin goes to ’toon…
OUT 26 OCTOBER
Gus Van Sant delivers one of his more personal films with this biographical tale of Portland cartoonist John Callahan. A story brought to him by the late Robin Williams, after their collaboration on Good Will Hunting, this too touches on therapy and selfhealing. Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) is a heavy drinker, and it’s an ill-fated hook-up with Jack Black’s partyhound that leads him to a car accident.
Paralysed and in a wheelchair, Callahan’s boozing gets worse until he finds his way to a rehab group run by Jonah Hill’s touchy-feely soul-saver, with Kim Gordon and Beth Ditto as fellow patients. Just as his cartoons gathered as many detractors as admirers for their controversial content, so Callahan arrives as a disruptive, obnoxious presence.
Phoenix hits the right notes of screw-you bitterness and sardonic humour throughout. And with Van Sant adopting an appealingly loose-limbed structure, the only misstep is a miscast Rooney Mara as Annu, the angelic Swedish physical therapist Callahan falls for. Otherwise, this is a winning return to form for Van Sant.
A punchy, poignant and honest portrayal of recovery, Phoenix and Van Sant’s reunion is cause for celebration.