Legends of The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy

By Ben Wheeler

Movie Review: The Fall Guy

I do love the Courier font.

I think it looks cool. It reminds me of my old typewriter, and it reminds me of movie scripts, which are always written in Courier or one of its variations. It has connotations of control – each character and each space are the same width – but also the boundless worlds of the imagination.

I also loved The Fall Guy, a film about films that not only uses Courier font for its title and end credit scenes, but also creates a cinematic world where many constituent parts sit in balance and harmony. And it looks very, very cool while doing it.

It has, for example, two phenomenal leads who beautifully riff off each other with that old school movie star chemistry that has become a something of a rarity. It has split screens moments that work as a cool stylistic device but also highlight how good these two characters (and actors) are together even while physically and emotionally apart. And, yes, being a movie about movies it walks us through the cinematic language while it’s happening.

When it’s not being cutely intimate, it is being wildly spectacular, obviously, being a remake of the classic 80s TV show starring Lee Majors about the unknown and unsung heroes of the silver screen – the stunt crew. It has falls, explosions, falls, car jumps, falls, boat jumps, and more falls. There is even a sneaky reference to Majors’ other hit show Six Million Dollar Man. Yes, that sound effect. If you know, you know.

It’s got conniving producers, aspiring directors, and egocentric film stars, and reliable tech crew guys. It’s got a film within the film which seems to be a cross between Dune and Cowboys vs Aliens. It’s got Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt – by all accounts two of the loveliest people in Hollywood. It’s got Stephanie Hsu, Winston Duke, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and a scene stealing Hannah Waddingham.

It has the mighty KISS song I Was Made for Lovin’ You for those rock and/or roll feels, but it also has Gosling crying alone in his truck to Taylor Swift’s All Too Well. And it works in the classic theme tune to the original TV show Unknown Stuntman into the closing credits! I mean this movie really does have everything.

Gun fights, fist fights, sword fights, dog fights, fire fights… a drugged up dream sequence fight replete with fairy dust and a unicorn! Wars of words, hearts on sleeves, men on fire, man alive! Thumbs up? Thumbs up! The Fall Guy is a film that has its cake and eats it but is so mesmerizingly fun and funny that we revel in its gluttonous excesses.

David Leitch (an ex-stuntman who used to double for Brad Pitt and Matt Damon among others and clearly has some skin in this game) has had a decent directorial career: John Wick, Atomic Blonde, Hobbes and Shaw, Deadpool 2 and more recently Bullet Train were all enjoyable romps. But it always felt like something was missing. Perhaps it was Ryan Gosling all along. Here he displays the kind of emotional warmth that won him all the hearts in The Notebook, mixed with the dramatic chops and intensity of stunning films like Drive, and the pitch perfect comic timing that won him an Oscar nomination for Barbie.

And if you’ve seen the Papyrus SNL sketches (see clips below) you know the man has range. Range and, like the best of us, some pretty strong feelings about movie title fonts.

The Fall Guy is currently showing in Fiji cinemas.

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