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There is a gentle sweetness to this goofy, big-hearted comedy written and directed by feature first-timers Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz: a film that doubles as a modest homage to Mark Twain.
Zack Gottsagen, an actor with Down’s syndrome, plays Zak, a young man in a care facility who yearns to escape and realise his dream of becoming a wrestler. He obsessively watches a wrestling video presented by a mysterious and hammy wrestling pro called the Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church), who’s barking at the screen and demonstrating tricky moves such as the atomic throw.
With the help of mischievous old-timer Carl (Bruce Dern), Zak actually gets away, and finds himself on the run with an angry, unhappy, mixed-up guy who is wanted by the police. This is Tyler: a sympathetic, relaxed performance from Shia LaBeouf.
Tyler is the one person who never patronises Zak, and he also takes a shine to Eleanor (Dakota Johnson), the concerned nurse trying to track Zak down. Together, the three of them wind up on an adventure, some of which is on a raft – on a mission to find the Salt Water Redneck and make Zak’s dreams come true in the ring. Tyler and Eleanor share a confused notion that by helping Zak they can somehow help themselves.
There’s a nice cameo from Wayne Dehart as “Blind” Jasper John, the backwoodsman who has an unofficial line in baptising passersby in the local creek.
The Peanut Butter Falcon isn’t shy of pushing your buttons, but the overall effect has an innocent charm and frankness, and LaBeouf brings a winning combination of toughness and soul.
Source: The Guardian
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