Village News / Southwest News

The Climb

John Hurt, David Strathairn and Gregory Smith
Now showing:
at AMC Studio 30
PG-13 (for language) 

April 20, 1999

At the Movies with Martin Puran
“The Climb”

      This heartfelt, coming of age film, is quietly playing at AMC’s Studio30 (Dunvale & Westheimer). It’s run may end soon as Thursday, so as soon as you finish this review, head-out and see it.

      The setting is 1959 Baltimore. A young boy, Danny Himes (Gregory Smith), about 12, is determined to climb a 200-foot radio tower that stands on a hill near his home.

      Scaling the massive structure will show his courage to a couple of local bullies, and hopefully end the name calling (coward) that his widowed father has endured for not having served in World War II or Korea.

      Prior to his attempt, however, Danny breaks an arm.

      But not all is lost.

      He accidentally injures a neighbor. A recluse old man who has come home to Baltimore to live out his final days. Suffering from lung cancer, the hard drinking, chain smoking Chuck (John Hurt), and Danny eventually becomes friends. So Chuck, a former civil engineer, helps Danny in making his dream come true.

      Fresh from its local premiere at Worldfest, where it was enthusiastically received, “The Climb” is the type of sleeper film that deserves to be discovered. It’s a better picture than the recent “October Sky,” and in the same league as “Stand by Me.”

      The script, by Kevin McKewin, who co-penned “Fly Away Home,” is tender, touching, tremendously exciting, and very funny.

      Veteran actor Hurt gives a grand performance. Smith, last seen in “Small Soldiers,” does a remarkable job. Also worth noting is David Stratharin, as the father of Danny, who turns in solid work.

      The rating comes from a handful of four-letter words, and a very brief scene of nudity.

      Do not miss this truly terrific little movie. Now go. The review is over. 3 ½ (out of four)