After proving very popular at this year’s SWIFF but only getting a limited cinematic release, ‘The Peanut Butter Falcon’ is now available on DVD, and it’s well worth a watch.
Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is a young man with Down Syndrome who has been put into a state care at a nursing home. Despite making friends with the elderly residents, he wants to follow his dream of becoming a pro-wrestler, so decides to escape – and succeeds after some failed attempts.
Wearing only his underwear he stows away on a crab fishing boat, which is owned by Tyler (Shia LaBeouf). Tyler is haunted by the death of his brother and takes off on the boat after burning some bridges and being chased by some rival crab fishers when he discovers Zak. Also a bit lost, he reluctantly agrees to help Zak get down to Florida so he can attend the wrestling school of his favourite wrestler, The Saltwater Redneck (Thomas Haden Church). At the same time, Zak’s carer Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) is sent to get Zak back so they can put him in a high security state care facility. The trio eventually meet up as Tyler and Zak are making a raft and they convince Eleanor to join them on their Huckleberry Finn-esque journey down the coast.
This film is fantastic for many reasons – the scenery of the North Carolina Outer Banks is stunningly shot, the soundtrack of bluegrass & gospel tunes and the use of unknown local actors for smaller roles really helps to add authenticity – but it is the chemistry between the leads that really lifts this movie up. The relationship between Zak & Tyler is so natural – Gottsagen makes Zak a funny, sharp and determined young man but is never played for laughs while LaBeouf develops Tyler as Zak’s reluctant partner & protector, then coach, trainer and above all else, a friend and equal.
The Peanut Falcon is a heart warming, beautiful movie for the whole family.