Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


THE WALKER (2007). Writer/director: Paul Schrader.

Carter Page (Woody Harrelson) is the third in a line of powerful politicians, but he himself is on the outskirts: as a "walker" in Washington D.C. he escorts the wives of important men to social functions and art events that the husband would rather not be bothered with. When one of these lady friends, Lynn (Kristin Scott Thomas), finds her lover butchered in his apartment, Carter is importuned to say that he found the body, and therefore becomes embroiled in scandal and mystery. The Walker certainly has an interesting cast --  Lauren Bacall and Lily Tomlin [Shadows and Fog] are two of the other ladies that Carter knows -- and the premise is an intriguing one, but while the movie is entertaining, it doesn't quite cut it. Having a gay man as the lead character is a step in the right direction, but Schrader won't let Carter be entirely comfortable with his lifestyle, and even adds a wistful postscript involving one of the ladies that almost gives the movie a homophobic subtext. But a bigger problem is that this is, in part, a thriller, and the basic plot is not that original or involving. Carter is an interesting character, however, and Harrelson gives a very good performance, even if at times he seems to be channeling his inner Liberace. Scott Thomas [Mission: Impossible] is also splendid, as is Ned Beatty as Tomlin's husband. Willem Dafoe [Daybreakers] plays Scott Thomas' husband in a brief bit, and Moritz Bleibtreu scores as Carter's sometime boyfriend, Emek.

Verdict: This might have been better if Schrader hadn't written the script. **1/2.

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