Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot is the film adaptation of the book of the same name. Titled The Autobiography of a Dangerous Man, it was written John Callahan. Callahan's story is extremely dark but packed full of wildly hilarious situations.
A deeply unlikable, hard drinking alcoholic, he has a car accident at the age of 21 and is left severely disabled. In the midst of his personal dark struggles he decides to start drawing dark humourous cartoons that bring him success on his journey to a better existence.
There is no doubt that this is a tough story. Gus Van Sant wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. Somehow, despite creating a deeply disturbing movie, he managed to find a balance by peppering it with clever humour.
Van Sant chooses to break this film into distinct sections that the viewer is thrust into. That includes quite challenging hospital scenes but even they're not as bad as the battles we follow Callahan through as he attempts to overcome his alcohol addiction.
The casting for this movie is verging on genius. Some of the stars are virtually unrecognisable and it was these stunning personal performances that carried this dark story. Joaquin Phoenix (You Were Never Really Here) is incredible playing John Callahan. He really gets the essence of this character – a man who is literally soaked in self-pity. Amazingly he also manages to switch on just the right measure of inspirational charm where it is needed.
Rooney Mara is great playing Callahan's girlfriend and Jack Black provides an unusually touching performance. But Jonah Hill, from War Dogs (review here) is a real stand out. He plays John Callahan's sponsor Donnie. He steals almost every scene he appears in but more importantly, he provides the substance that this story needs so much.
I think it is fair to say that this is not just a simple comedy. The movie has an 18 certificate clearly due to the confronting nature of the material. The film is quite slow to get going, but once it does it really delivers on so many levels. It is a brutally honest but wonderfully touching roller-coaster ride of a movie.