There’s probably no actor more derided in modern cinema than Shia LaBeouf. After getting his big break in Transformers, there were a few signs that he might be a future star. However, LaBeouf’s career quickly went downhill and he became somewhat of a sad parody of himself. This included rampant plagiarism, public disorder offences and questionable performance art. Andrea Arnold’s 2016 film American Honey seemed to mark a turning point for the American. He builds on this in Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’s new film The Peanut Butter Falcon.
Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is a young man with Down’s Syndrome who has been placed in an elderly care home by a state who doesn’t know what to do with him. Desperate to escape, and aided by a fellow resident (Bruce Dern), he flees in the middle of the night. He comes into collision with Tyler (LaBeouf), who is on the run himself. Pursued by a friendly carer (Dakota Johnson), the pair establish an unlikely bond.
The Peanut Butter Falcon borrows heavily from the spirit of Mark Twain to create a rambunctious and warm-hearted buddy movie. Gottsagen and LaBeouf build-up a good chemistry and their journeys are entertaining to watch. Johnson’s character is possibly a contrivance too far, but it’s a sweet light-hearted drama. The Peanut Butter Falcon is a charming and engaging drama with a light comedic edge.
The Peanut Butter Falcon screens again at London Film Festival on 4 & 11 October.