Film Review – The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy

The Fall Guy

Fresh off his Oscar-nominated turn in Barbie (2024), Ryan Gosling has returned with yet another exuberant, hilariously charismatic performance in The Fall Guy (2024). He plays Colt Seavers, a movie stunt performer who gets into some hot water with shady miscreants. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s because Gosling played a similar role in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (2011). On paper, the two have parallels given that they are both stunt men. But where that film had Gosling in a brooding, dramatic mindset, his work as Colt is the complete opposite. Here he is funny, quick witted, and a romantic. It’s a testament to Gosling’s skill as an actor to bring such differing shades with his characters. 

Director David Leitch (along with cowriters Drew Pearce and Glen A. Larson) structures the narrative – above all else – as a love letter to stunt performers. The film starts with a montage of notable stunts from various action films, proving how much respect these performers deserve. There’s a reason why a push to give stunt choreography its own Oscar category has been gaining steam. These people put their lives on the line all to make that one perfect shot that leaves us in awe. Whether that means falling from great heights, getting tossed through windows, hit by cars, punched in the face, etc. – stunt performers have the thankless job of making movie stars look like superheroes. If you read between the lines, the narrative examines how CGI and artificial intelligence have altered traditional stunt work. At its heart, the movie is a celebration of stunts and good old fashioned analog action. 


It also helps that this is just flat out funny. After an on-set injury left him a recluse, Colt gets lured back into the game when he gets invited to work on a sci-fi epic directed by his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Jody (Emily Blunt). Things get complicated when the headlining star, Tom Ryder (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) goes missing. Hoping to rekindle the flame with Jody and to save the production from going under, Colt takes matters into his own hands and investigates. The narrative then becomes a rom com/mystery/action hybrid, with Colt getting into all sorts of hijinks. Of course, these hijinks also include a handful of death-defying, over the top set pieces.

The writing and direction create a nice mix of absurdity and earnestness. It takes a certain kind of personality to put oneself in harm’s way as a career, and that attitude is translated on screen. There are a ton of chases, shootouts, fight scenes, and explosions littered all throughout the runtime. The way this universe is constructed makes us feel like “Yes, of course this would happen.” When Colt jumps from one vehicle to another to fight a bad guy as they race down the street, the overall tone has us thinking this is just another day on the job. He can get thrown through a glass window or set on fire, but will pop back up and go about his day like it’s no big deal. The way he converses with Jody while dangling from a crane is absurd yet hilarious. 

What makes The Fall Guy such a joy is not only the stunts, but in the chemistry and interactions of the cast. Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt make a great onscreen pairing. Their characters’ incessant flirting and double entendres gets a lot of laughs. One of the best scenes has the two discussing the production they’re working on in front of the whole crew. Although they are talking about the job, it’s painfully obvious they are actually talking about their own relationship. If there is any downside to their characters’ dynamic, it’s that Blunt doesn’t get enough opportunity to show off her action chops. Yes, Jody is the director and wouldn’t normally join the fray. However, given that Emily Blunt has already proven her abilities in films like Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and Sicario (2015), seeing her relegated to the sidelines feels like a missed opportunity.


I’m sure some could nitpick certain issues, or the fact that this whole thing is ludicrous to begin with. But it’s that very element that drew me in. When everyone involved is having this much fun, it’s hard not to be sucked in by it. There are little bursts of creativity all around that – when all added together – makes a successful whole. Whether it’s Winston Duke’s stunt coordinator spitting out movie quotes, or Hannah Waddingham’s producer on the verge of blowing a gasket, everyone we run across makes the most of their screentime. Leitch’s direction, Jonathan Sela’s cinematography, and Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir’s editing add a heavy dose of personality as well. Obviously, this is shown most in the set pieces, which blend practical effects with computer generated imagery well. But it also shows up in smaller scenes. When Jody and Colt discuss possibly using a split screen effect, the actual frame goes into a split screen between them, mirroring their conversation in a tongue-in-cheek manner. Not exactly a revolutionary cinematic device, but it’s so playful that we buy into it easily.

I had a blast with The Fall Guy. It pays tribute to a profession that deserves more recognition, has a screwball plot that allows for hilarity, and is headlined by actors all locked in to provide as much entertainment as possible. As cheesy as it may sound, this honors the very reasons why we love movies in the first place. It understands that everyone involved – from the person on the poster to the person flinging themselves across the screen – all play an important part. 




Allen is a moviegoer based out of Seattle, Washington. His hobbies include dancing, playing the guitar, and, of course, watching movies.

You can reach Allen via email or Twitter

View all posts by this author