The Fall Guy (2024) Movie Review – An ode to the magic of moviemaking

An ode to the magic of moviemaking

Imagine a romantic comedy wrapped in an action film about a missing movie star and you get The Fall Guy. This might be a bit too watered-down description of David Leitch’s new movie but that is it in a nutshell. The Fall Guy is a movie lover’s paradise with countless movie references and homages.

The movie feels like a wholehearted ode to the craft, not necessarily in the same vein as a Cinema Paradiso, but in Leitch’s unique flavour of filmmaking. This is the kind of film that can stand on good ground and claim to resolve Hollywood’s recent identity crisis.

With filled theatre seats and child-like gasps as the movie unfolds, The Fall Guy instantly impresses with its charm. The first scene, which is a long take akin to Paul Thomas Anderson’s famous shot in Boogie Nights, sets the tone for the rest of the film.

Leitch wields the full strength of his background as a stuntman in the industry. His vast experience with the inner workings and challenges faced on movie sets ensures that we get a real insight into the unsung heroes. The film is angled toward sparking a renewed conversation about their importance in the business.

In a very subtle, non-imposing manner, Leitch introduces the love story of a stuntman who is a hero in his own right. Almost all the director’s creative choices, from framing to the soundtrack, make The Fall Guy a seamless cinematic experience.

What’s so refreshing about the film is its writing. Comedies have been hard to come by in this dry season…good ones, at least. So much of what we see today is derivative and imprisoned in the decadence of stereotyping, especially, when paired with romance, a genre that has been so chequered lately.

The Fall Guy’s greatest achievement is making Colt and Jody’s relationship seem real and genuine. There are hardly any false notes in the performance of either actor or how beautifully their characters’ feelings are brought to life. The to-and-fro banter, a clever meta superimposition of their story onto the movie, and the “split screen” are efficiently deployed as storytelling tools.

Leitch and Drew Pearce, the writer of the film, have two stories to tell, with the narrative often weaving between the hunt for Tom Ryder (Taylor-Johnson) and the central love story. This interweaving is done clumsily on a lot of occasions. It is partly the reason that the murder subplot doesn’t surface as eye-catching. The schematics are pretty straightforward with very few twists and turns. You can see the “big reveal” from a mile away. But because of how devoted the execution is, this isn’t a problem for The Fall Guy.

The movie doesn’t have a lot of faults overall. It is immensely helped by Gosling and Blunt’s charismatic pairing. They are an adorable pairing on the screen. The duo are as big star powerhouses as they are insanely gifted actors. They lead a prestige cast that also has names like Aaron-Taylor Johnson and Hannah Waddingham playing important roles. However, their role is only supporting the main act.  

Gosling is deep into his character but lends his effortless charm and wit to make Colt Seavers someone to root for. It was always going to be this way given his star billing. To his credit, Gosling has built a killer rapport with his loyal fanbase. His connection to the screen is uniquely positioned for him to leverage his emotional appeal.

Blunt’s range and change of expressions are the highlights of her performance. She fills Jody with ambition and an enthusiastic romantic tingle that has its fair share of ups and downs. She effortlessly swings between the hurt lover abandoned without even so much as a goodbye, and the hopeless romantic hoping to regain lost time.

The Fall Guy is a superlative example of how simple cinematic values can elevate a story whose start and end are as clear as day. It rejuvenates the conversation of falling back to the golden rule of respecting your audience. It might not be Leitch’s most accomplished work but it is full of heart and giddy time-travelling to the magical world of moviemaking. 

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  • Verdict - 8/10

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