Hey folks, Cobrak here with a fantastic film that you should definitely watch. If you like good films at least. If not, I'm sure there's another Transformers coming out soon or something.
The Dark Divide, directed by Tom Putnam, and based off the book Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide by Robert Pyle might be my favorite film this year so far.
It certainly has a lot going for it; David Cross, beautiful landscapes and cinematography, awkward comedy, tragedy, adventure, and humanity in fairly equal measures, and a wonderful score. Oh, and a lot of David Cross ass (if that's your thing. I don't judge).
The Dark Divide tells the true story of Dr. Robert Pyle, a lepidopterist (person who studies butterflies and moths. Duh), who receives a grant that allows him to finance a weeks-long trek through the mountains of Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington in search of new butterfly species. The story of his adventure is interspaced with flashbacks of him and his wife dealing with her terminal cancer diagnosis. I know that description makes it kinda sound like a bummer, and parts of it are, but this is ultimately a story of how we triumph in the face of obstacles that we are in no way equipped for.
Cross has been one of my favorite comedic actors since I first saw Mr. Show as a teenager. But he also has a knack at playing these sort of down-trodden, almost pathetic, but somehow endearing characters. His Dr. Robert Pyle feels like he's building on the character type he played in Arrested Development and Todd Margaret, but with a fair amount of pathos added to. What he ended up with is the best acting of his career. This is the role he was made for.
Other than the flashbacks, the film is mostly a one man show. There are a few small scenes where Pyle interacts with folks, be it colleagues, gas station attendants, or park rangers and everyone present has brought their A-game. Two great examples are David Koechner and Kimberly Guerrero, as a bigoted husband and native American wife respectfully, in small, but memorable, roles who invite Pyle to join them at their encampment one night. One of my favorite parts of the film is when Guerrero's character flips a common racist axiom when chastising her insentient husband. It's a simple, yet clever, line that I'm surprised I've never heard in a film or in real life.
Luckily, despite the title of the book it's based on, the film doesn't really delve into Bigfoot a whole lot. I mean, I enjoy the big dude as much as the next guy, but it would have felt out of place in this film. There are a few passing comments, mostly played for laughs after he finds a suspiciously large footprint in the woods, but that's pretty much it.
I know I should have something to critique in this review, but I honestly can't think of a thing. Maybe a little more Koechner would have been nice. And a little less Cross ass? Nah, who am I kidding? It was the perfect amount.
Check out The Dark Divide at select theatres and on playing through virtual cinema at https://www.darkdividefilm.com/. A portion of each virtual ticket is donated to protect wild life and wild places.
P.S. I have an interview with David Koechner coming up. But it is LONG, so it is taking a bit to transcribe. Look out for it soon though.