English Review – The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019)


Poignant and wholesome despite the cliché it holds. Thanks to the natural but powerful acting which Zack Gottsagen provides effortlessly all the way.

The Peanut Butter Falcon is about two criminals on the run by their own mean. They’re being hunted, and take a big journey to find what they were missing and what they were pursuing all this time. The two men is Zak (Zack Gottsagen) and Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), meet in coincidence in a fishing boat when both are trying to escape the situation.

Zak is a 22-year-old with a Down Syndrome that was living in retirement home in North Carolina, before sneaks out from there after an elderly friend, Carl (Bruce Dern) assisted him to flee from the house. Tyler in other side, is now a troubled fisherman. Once stole crabs and then makes other crabbers gutted when he deliberately burns down the dock equipment worth $12,000 that makes him chased after.

Initially doesn’t care even about the mental state which Zak having, Tyler eventually agreed to have him as partner on the journey to the south with two condition: Don’t slow me down and I’m in charge. Zak, would easily agreed upon it.

It’s a fine buddy movie (some says that it is a warm feel-good movie), with its cliché but also with its own authentic subject. Thanks to special performance from Gottsagen which powerful yet natural. He is, in a real world, a down syndrome person. Which make the movie embrace its moments of friendship, sweetness in the most effortless way.

Just imagine when the first-time double director Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz decided to cast a real disabled person, and they might be thinking if it would be tough only to realize that it appears just as easy as it gets.

Zak wants to be a professional wrestler and Tyler showing him anything but doubt. He trains him, let Zak nicknamed him Peanut Butter Falcon as Zak idolizing Salt Water Redneck which he obsessively watch on tape. Tyler is being compulsive yet remind him about some shit he ain’t never gonna do. Not because he is ill or what, but because that’s what everyone has to be. We just can’t be everything.

Deep from LaBeouf’s Tyler, and I am in a sheer admiration to acknowledge that the movie gets warm not in the way of asking pity. Gottsagen happens to be the lead here and he is incredible in doing that. I love the movie when they are showing that Zak could be anything he wants to be, without pointing that he is a person in need.

Even when the movie once is trying to say so, it’s quickly turns that off. It is when Eleanor (the woman who’s been taken care of Zak, played by Dakota Johnson) finally found him in the middle of nowhere with Tyler. She pampered him, why don’t you sit down, I don’t want you to fall in, are you hungry, have you eaten anything?. And Tyler just be like, don’t do that lady. Indicating that Zak can stand on his own feet. Peanut Butter Falcon, through this, implying that maybe all this time we have mistakenly treat the disabled. We are not really assisting them, instead we justify that they are marginal, vulnerable and in total need.

But Zak can stand on his own feet. Sure, he is a free man. And it can’t get more reflective, because in my senses, Zak is not a fictional character but he is Gottsagen himself playing in a fictional environment. I think that is the best way to say that his acting is legit and groundbreaking.

Speaking of which, Shia LaBeouf is groundbreaking too, or I must say, have done a significant improvement of his career. We exactly do understand the emotional story that attached to his character about that quick flashback about his past brother. A reminiscent of Casey Affleck character in Manchester by the Sea. He is longing for a brother, and maybe he finally found it.

Friends are family that you choose. We always loved this outcast-like themed movie with such an exuberant vibe. An adventure that galvanized in peculiar way. Defining the art of surviving in nature and conquered it with your pal. We’ve seen an unthinkable combination of buddy, which in a search, and have to deal with a set of lake, swamp or forest-like within. Swiss Army Man, Mud, until Hunt for the Wilderpeople (not to mention movies out there that I don’t watch yet), have proven each material quality. All alike but different when it comes to the main idea.

Like those movies, The Peanut Butter Falcon also has its unique idea, and background. Notwithstanding, we won’t be saying that the movie plot or story is that special. But to be exist, it is.