Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot follows the true story of paraplegic John Callahan and his dealing with alcoholism, as well as his cartoon drawing which made him famous, and his journey of coming to terms with the people in his life.
This movie promises a great cast as well as an interesting premise from a talented director, and it mostly lives up to the promise. Joaquin Phoenix is one of my favorite actors right now, and it’s hard to find a film where he doesn’t deliver. Here he plays a real-life paraplegic alcoholic so well that you constantly feel his depression and regret present in certain scenes and his brightness in others. Phoenix portrays a physically and emotionally damaged man from real life very intimately and carries the film better than any other actor would have. Also great in a supporting role is Jonah Hill who’s character plays a key role in John Callahan’s recovery. The story is at its strongest when the actor’s performances are at their best, as many scenes’ dialogue are delivered very well by the actors and certain scenes do have an emotional impact. However, the story structure starts to feel weaker in the middle act when not much emotion is present and some scenes didn’t feel too necessary. The story is at its best when it digs deepest into Callahan but sometimes the writing didn’t hit its mark, and the occasional non-linear storytelling felt unjustified and distracting whenever it was hardly there. When the movie focuses on its core themes of recovery and forgiveness, it succeeds greatly but sometimes it focuses more on dark humor or repetitiveness. Thankfully, we do get some great scenes thanks to top-notch writing and acting, and some strong delivery of story and themes.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot is elevated by a superb performance from Joaquin Phoenix and a great emotional arc for his real-life character, and though the second act feels lesser to stronger parts in the beginning and end, it’s an often fascinating true story you may want to check out for its cast and writing, and those who like biopics will especially enjoy it when it’s released this July.