Posts Tagged ‘Woody Harrelson’

We Own The Stars

The Glass Castle

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Cast: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Ella Anderson, Sarah Snook, Max Greenfield, Josh Caras, Iain Armitage, Sadie Sink, Brigette Lundy-Paine

Hawaiian director Destin Daniel Cretton’s cinematic adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jeanette Walls The Glass Castle is an emotional and intricate exploration of a dysfunctional family’s unconventional upbringing.

The Glass Castle stars Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson (The People vs Larry Flynt, The Messenger) as the patriarch Rex Walls and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams, The Impossible) as his wife Rose Mary. Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room) stars as the grownup second daughter Jeanette who would eventually turn from gossip columnist writer to bestselling author of the novel from which the story is based.

Ella Anderson plays the younger version of Jeannette who has to deal with her poverty-stricken parents as they grow up in the backwater of West Virginia, often living in abandoned buildings and scrounging for food money.

At the film’s outset it is clear that Jeannette has a special bond with her heavy drinking, big dreaming and often delusional father Rex who keeps promising her and her siblings (two sisters and a brother) that he is going to build the family a glass castle from which they can glimpse the stars through.

As the narrative shifts between New York in 1989 and her poverty stricken upbringing in rural West Virginia, The Glass Castle intelligently explores the concepts of sustainable living, of living off the grid and repudiating the city driven Capitalist work ethic which defines contemporary America.

The mother Rose Mary is too busy painting to watch her children, never mind feed them while the father Rex is too busy drinking to actually get a proper a job to support his family. Woody Harrelson gives one of the best performances of his screen career as Rex Walls as he manipulates and misguides the family into believing that he has the capacity to actually take care of them.

Eventually the young Jeannette says to her siblings that they have to make their own plans to save up money and leave West Virginia for more lucrative work opportunities in New York.

Fast forward to 1989, where the older Jeannette, beautifully played with nuance and comprehensive emotional intelligence by Brie Larson who as a successful journalist on the verge of marrying her straitlaced accountant fiancée David played by Max Greenfield (The Big Short) suddenly has to contend with her parents squatting on the Lower East Side in an abandoned building.

Josh Caras, Brigette Lundy-Paine and Sarah Snook (The Dressmaker, Steve Jobs) play the other siblings Brian, Maureen and Lori.

The best scenes in The Glass Castle are between Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson and while the film is an emotional joyride, it does not give the parents any social accountability for the way they brought up their children through neglect and apparent starvation.

The Glass Castle is a fascinating exploration of familial responsibility or lack thereof and the emotional effects that irresponsible parents decision making can have on their unsuspecting children.

The drama gets a film rating of 8 out 10.

The highly underrated Woody Harrelson should received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his performance as Rex Walls in the upcoming 2018 Academy Awards.

The Glass Castle is recommended viewing for those that enjoy a tense, sometimes difficult family drama where the children are told to pick stars while they are starving on earth.

The Survival of the Species

War for the Planet of the Apes

Director: Matt Reeves

Cast: Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Max Lloyd-Jones

Original score composer Michael Giacchino won an Oscar for Best Original Score for the animated film Up in 2010. Giacchino has also composed film music for Ratatouille, Inside Out and Jurassic World among many others. His most recent musical composition is for the Matt Reeves directed War for the Planet of the Apes in which he surely deserves another Oscar nomination.

In this case, brilliant music makes the film. War for the Planet of the Apes on a technical level is a superb film with superior production design by James Chinlund while the sound editing is perfect especially noticeable in the film’s final battle sequence which by all counts is absolutely remarkable.

As a story of survival of one species over another and an allegorical tale about the horrors of colonialism, War for the Planet of the Apes, with an engaging screenplay by Mark Bomback, is a fascinating film examining ethnographically man’s relationship with animals within the context of climate change or scientific experimentation.

At the centre of the narrative about a vicious conflict between men and apes is a towering performance by Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson (No Country for Old Men, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Messenger) as The Colonel In which he draws direct inspiration from Marlon Brando’s performance of Colonel Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola’s ground breaking Apocalypse Now.

Andy Serkis in motion capture technology plays Caesar an ape desperately trying to save his clan from being eliminated by the merciless attack of The Colonel’s army.

In a fascinating plot twist, the apes discover a mute young girl, played by Amiah Miller who galvanizes their support to fight on and also provides empathy for a conflict which is far more complex than it appears, brought on by a simian virus which has attacked Earth.

In the final chapter of the Apes Trilogy, War for the Planet of the Apes is technically brilliant, engaging and utterly watchable and director Matt Reeves has proved his worth in a film which is as good as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, which also provided the final chapter in a compact trilogy.

Toby Kebbell (Warcraft, Prince of Persia) appears briefly as Koba and Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) appears as Bad Ape all done in superb motion capture technology but what really elevates War for the Planet of the Apes was the excellent musical score provided by Michael Giacchino for which he should be recognized at the 2018 Oscars.

War for the Planet of the Apes gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended for audiences that enjoyed the first two chapters of the Apes films. Technically this film is extraordinary.

 

Digital Illusions

Now You See Me 2

now_you_see_me_two_ver15

Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Franco, Sanaa Lathan

Following the success of the 2013 magical film Now You See Me, there was definitely a call to make a sequel and reunite the illusive four horsemen.

now_you_see_me_two_ver3

In the sequel, Now You See Me 2, G. I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu misses the mark in providing a magical follow up to the original film, despite reuniting the same cast including Jesse Eisenberg as Daniel Atlas, Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney who also has a rather irritating identical twin brother in this film, Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes and Dave Franco as Jack Wilder.

now_you_see_me_two_ver5

New to the cast is master illusionist Lula played by Lizzy Caplan famous from the raunchy Masters of Sex TV series and the superfluous Daniel Radcliffe as a reclusive tech billionaire Walter Mabry who recruits the magicians to steal back a ubiquitous yet highly guarded computer chip which can hack into anything at an international exchange in the glamorous resort casinos of Macau.

now_you_see_me_two_ver9

As the action moves swiftly from New York to Macau and then onto London, the magical tricks and digital illusions even involving numerous card tricks in which the microchip seemingly passes from one horseman to another, Now You See Me 2 appears to be lacking in the essential element of revelation. Something the first film did so brilliantly. For as the optical illusions, card tricks and magic increases, there is less time to provide valuable explanations to the bewildered if slightly amused audience.

now_you_see_me_two_ver7

Veteran actors Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their roles as Arthur Tressler and Thaddeus Bradley respectively whose unholy alliance leads the Four Horseman to play the ultimate trick on the chief villain, a poorly played part by Daniel Radcliffe, who unfortunately appeared to be out of place in this sequel. Perhaps Radcliffe should stick to stronger script material with meatier roles in mind like he did in Victor Frankenstein and Kill Your Darlings.

now_you_see_me_two_ver2

Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher) is plausibly believable as the elusive FBI agent Rhodes despite occasionally giving the impression that he should not have signed on for this sequel. Harrelson is in top form playing twins and the only sparks are provided by Eisenberg and Caplan who seem to be the most energetic and enthusiastic magicians.

Whilst Now You See Me 2 falls short of being as brilliant as the first film, it certainly is a fun film to watch even if the plot is slightly convoluted especially in between the globetrotting disappearing acts that the main actors seem to do quite effortlessly. Now You See Me 2 is an enjoyable film, but nothing as magical or dazzling as the original. Lets hope the third film in this magical trilogy is more impressive.

Flipping the Coin

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two_ver20

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Jeffrey Wright, Julianne Moore, Sam Claflin, Paula Malcolmson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Dormer, Sarita Choudhury, Patina Miller, Mahershala Ali, Willow Shields, Michelle Forbes

Consistency of vision is always imperative when converting a trilogy of bestselling novels into films and certainly The Hunger Games trilogy based upon the allegorical novels by Suzanne Collins have maintained that consistency in terms of casting, production design and overall cinematic appeal.

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two

Whether parent company Lionsgate’s decision to split the final installment of The Hunger Games, Mockingjay was a wise one remains debatable. Nevertheless director Francis Lawrence returns with the second part of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay picking up exactly where the first part finished.

Peeta Mellark has been returned to the rebels from the capitol, although slightly deranged and brainwashed. Our sturdy heroine Katniss Everdeen, beautifully played by Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) is unsure of Peeta’s complete rehabilitation and loyalty.

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two_ver17

In a brutal war, which takes Katniss and her team first to District 2 and then onto a treacherous mission of penetrating the devastated capitol, where images of the aging President Snow, still wonderfully played by Donald Sutherland, are flashed across random TV screens at interim moments during a savage battle between the rebels and peacekeepers. Urged on by the charismatic District 13 President Coin, played by Oscar winner (Still Alice) Julianne Moore, Katniss and her unit are implored to take the capitol and assassinate President Snow.

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two_ver16

As the love triangle which was initiated in The Hunger Games, between Katniss, Peeta and the hunky Gale Hawthorne, played by Liam Hemsworth is teased out to its logical conclusion, Katniss has to stay true to her own convictions, despite the brutal toll it takes on herself and her family. Katniss realizes in Mockingjay Part 2 that she is a symbolic pawn between Presidents Snow and Coin, while always struggling to retain her own autonomy and individuality.

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two_ver10

Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks reprise their roles as Haymitch and Effie Trinket respectively, although audiences should be warned that Mockingjay Part 2 is considerably darker in tone and texture than the lurid The Hunger Games or the visually gripping Catching Fire.

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two_ver13

A dark mood of warfare and finality hangs over the film, even with the cast giving a sense that this violent action trilogy has exhausted all options. Considering the recently high level of violence in the contemporary world, especially as shown on international news broadcast, suffice is to say that American author Suzanne Collins has made her point about millennials becoming immune to violence both on screen and in real life.

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two_ver15

Despite an all-star cast including the last screen appearance of Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) as Plutarch Heavensbee, Mockingjay Part 2, belongs to Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as their characters come to terms with their dramatic destiny in the face of a manipulative conflict between the Rebels and the Capitol.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is recommended viewing for fans of the entire trilogy although the 3-D technology was not used effectively, making the second part of Mockingjay too long and aimless. Inevitably, Katniss Everdeen triumphs but at great personal cost to herself.

 

 

 

War is a Constructed Image

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_one

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Dormer, Donald Sutherland, Robert Knepper, Paula Malcolmson, Sam Claflin

The final book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, Mockingjay comes to the big screen in two parts, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is a monochromatic diatribe about notions of war as a constructed image, and intelligently explores the concept of rebellion.

Katniss Everdeen, superbly played by Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) has survived the Quarter Quell and plunged Panem into civil war between the Capital and the Districts, with her own District 12 being obliterated by the ruthless Capitol bombers.

Director Francis Lawrence creates a superb dichotomy between a more vicious Capital and the newly discovered District 13, a haven for the rebels built entirely below ground so as to escape the Capital’s firepower. Utilitarian District 13 ruler Madame President Coin, wonderfully played by Oscar Nominee Julianne Moore has plans of using Katniss as the much beloved symbol of resistance, the Mockingjay.

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_one_ver24

However in the Capital, President Snow, played by veteran star Donald Sutherland has captured Peeta Mellark, the tribute who didn’t escape the Quarter Quell and like Coin is using Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in a vicious game of propaganda and deceit to lure Katniss and her supporters into attacking the Capital.

In this manipulated game of propaganda, both Katniss and Mellark are used as constructs by a ruthless war machine intent on destroying humanity in this allegorical society. With Katniss being filmed against the ruins of one of the Districts after a hospital is destroyed, the viewer would think they are watching scenes of the recent conflict in the Syrian Civil War or the Crisis in the Ukraine.

Director Lawrence obviously working with a far bigger budget, has a clearer vision of this dystopian world post Hunger Games, after the lavish excess of the Capitol and the vicious expandability of the children fighting each other in a death match which made the first two films The Hunger Games and Catching Fire that much more riveting.

Whilst in the first two, the children or tributes as they were known in Suzanne Collins novels were the centre of attention, in Mockingjay it is clearly an adult world, with war a primary signifier in moving the brutal narrative along, ably assisted by a brilliant supporting cast.

This cast includes Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who incidentally died of a drug overdose during the filming of Mockingjay) in one of his last screen performances as Plutarch Heavensbee, Elizabeth Banks in a wonderful cameo as the downtrodden Prisoner of War yet still irrepressible Effie Trinket, along with Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Jeffrey Wright as Beetee who all bring a gravity to Katniss’s predicament as her decision to become the symbol of the rebellion is thwarted by President Snow’s twisted methods especially using Mellark as a pawn.

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire was clearly aimed at the mature teenage market, but Mockingjay Part One is definitely aimed at a more mature audience whose has become used to seeing violent images of global conflicts flash across their TV screens. Even though it’s an allegorical tale Mockingjay Part 1 undoubtedly reflects a contemporary 21st century immunity to violent onscreen images of war, highlighting that along with all the propaganda and the rhetoric, the constant bloodshed seen has become engrained in a future society which appears to be emotionally resistant to such global strife, despite its constant coverage on all the international news broadcasts.

Mockingjay Part 1, although the storyline purposefully is left hanging at the end, still remains an impressively dark cinematic vision, gripping and unrelenting. Audience naturally hope that Part 2 will be equally brilliant and impressive. This is recommended viewing for those that have read the books and have followed the massive success of this ferocious and fascinating film franchise.

Dark and Lurid Victory Tour

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

hunger_games_catching_fire

 Director: Francis Lawrence

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Jeffrey Wright, Paula Malcolmson, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson

The Hunger Games trilogy author Suzanne Collins was inspired to write the largely allegorical tale of an alternative version of contemporary American society by flicking through channels on TV with alternating images of award shows, reality Series and brutal wars occurring in distant countries over the last decade from Afghanistan to Syria.

The sequel to the hugely successful Hunger Games film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire directed by Austrian Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants) follows the Victory Tour of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, victors of the Hunger Games which for those that don’t know is a brutal invented arena in which teenagers fight to the death to claim spoils for their respective district, each of which owes enforced allegiance to The Capitol, for which the Hunger Games becomes a televised Bloodsport.

Each Tribute, teenage sacrifices as they are known are paraded in a lurid fashion at the outrageously lavish Art Deco inspired Capitol while the brutal games are televised live. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire takes this vicious propaganda spectacle of the victory tour a step further in the gladiator like parade of the Quarter Quell a quarterly sequel to the annual Hunger Games, a fantastic and dazzling scene out of a contemporary Ben Hur.

The victorious tributes and the heroes of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Katniss Everdeen, beautifully played by Oscar winning actress Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) and Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson (The Kids are Alright) hold their own along with Katniss’s other love interest the hunky Gale Hawthorne played by Liam Hemworth.

The ever versatile Lawrence really makes The Hunger Games and Catching Fire her own as her feisty and resilient Katniss is the central force in a bizarre world of brutality, repression and becoming the symbol of hope and defiance against a vicious ruler, the sinister President Snow, wonderfully played by screen veteran Donald Sutherland, who views the Hunger Games as a way of keeping the twelve districts of Panem entrapped in a terrifyingly civil obedience to the decadent Capital with its outrageous fashions, increasingly lavish spectacles and bizarre cosmetic trends.

Remember this is allegory and in this form of narrative, the story line can be as outlandish and brutal as possible, as removed from reality, but mirroring a recognizable world that is to close for comfort. Think of modern day America with reality TV series including the rise of the Kardashians, The Amazing Race and Survivor along with a plethora of increasingly lavish Hollywood Award Shows with the infamous red carpet. So perhaps The Hunger Games trilogy although allegorical is more close in commenting the dichotomies of an increasingly digital 21st century American culture where alternating images of brutality and glamour are available at the flick of a switch.

Nazi inspired propaganda images abound

Nazi inspired propaganda images abound

For The Hunger Games viewers and its more stylized and lurid sequel Catching Fire, its best to read the novels first otherwise the unfamiliar world of Panem would seem too bizarre to comprehend and the fortunes of its heroes Katniss and Peeta would not be plausible, whether it’s their fight for survival or their covert acts of defiance.

Watch out for a particularly menacing performance by Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) as the mysterious game maker Plutarch Heavensbee  along with another over the top performance by Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire shows humanity’s depth for cruelty and spectacle much like the gladiator games were meant to placate the salivating audiences of ancient Rome, except this film takes the images much further, to a darker more lurid and unexpected act of defiance.

The cast also includes  Woody Harrelson as the heavy drinking Haymitch Abernathy, Lenny Kravitz as the flamboyant fashion designer Cinna along with Jeffrey Wright as tech savy victor Beetee and Amanda Plummer as Wireless.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is an innovative piece of cinema, recommended for the dazzling sets, the lurid costumes and crisp sound editing and the captivating if not truly bizarre storyline, see it at a cinema soon and be transported into Panem, a world unlike anything imaginable…

 

Terrific on Screen Chemistry

Friends with Benefits

 

A complicated relationship

From LA to the Big Apple, Friends with Benefits is a quirky 21st century comedy which pokes fun at romantic comedies but ultimately succumbs to the formula which has made this genre so popular. Mila Kunis from Black Swan is utterly delightful as the street savvy New York head hunter for the Olive Branch Recruitment agency who organizes a job for Dylan Harper played with his usual boyish charm by Justin Timberlake seen in The Social Network, arriving fresh off the plane from LA as art director for GQ. While Timberlake is coming into his own as an actor and is appearing in many more films, it is certainly Kunis who steals the show in this 21st century digitized urban jungle of the New York magazine industry. The on screen chemistry is brilliant between Kunis and Timberlake helped by a witty, sometimes rude but very direct script.

As Timberlake and Kunis become good friends in NYC, they decide to play tennis in other words have sex, hence the friendship with a nudge and wink on the side. Friends with Benefits mid way through the film was giving the impression that it was just about its two leading stars, then the scriptwriters bring in Kunis’s dilly mother played by A-class character actress Patricia Clarkson and Timberlake’s father, played by the equally talented Richard Jenkins from Eat, Pray, Love and The Visitor.

New York and LA feature as cities with their own distinct character, with New York outshining in terms of the most attractive destination. Friends with Benefits features some wonderful scenes including a flash mob dance sequence in Times Square, a great cameo by Woody Harrelson as the gay sports editor for GQ and gorgeous shots of the Big Apple’s skyline and a wonderfully comic scene at the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. Besides the friendship, this is sex in both cities with Timberlake and Kunis doing a fine job at turning the romantic comedy drama literally upside down, with loads of filmic and digital references for the internet generation. Worth watching!

Texas is No Place for Survivors

No Country for Old Men

It is a difficult nut to crack. No Country for Old Men initially purely for its shock value, then for Joel and Ethan Coen’s take on morality in border town Texas. Even the second viewing was hard to contemplate. From its relentless scenery to its unrelentless take on the Mexican-Texan drug trade, the Coen brothers never compromise of their  vision of an America without any heroes and essentially its Superb!

Rich in imagery and dark in imagination coupled by great performances from the cast from Javier Bardem to Josh Brolin and Kelly McDonald. The Coen brothers seminal work is a masterpiece in psychological immorality and genuine disconnectedness of the main characters. From Tommy Lee Jones’s cynical police chief to the cold blooded ruthlessness of Javier Bardems psychopathic killer Anton Chiqua the film betrays a sense of ruthlessness and immorality little before seen on the big screen. Panoramic visions of Texas and neighboring Mexico make little t0 assuage the view. To make the viewer feel better.

Not for the faint-hearted

Even in the second viewing the Coen brothers disturbing point of view is fascinating and simultaneously appalling for those who watch it, but in a true Cinematic tradition, their film is both a masterpiece and a harrowing account of the cost of greed and revenge. Its a tough showdown but ultimately rewarding tale of disillusionment, disgrace and courage faltered in a land ravaged by death and destruction.

Javier Bardem’s performance is intimate and contained, rich in evil and retribution, filled with that abysmal sinister quality of a man which clearly operates outside the law. He is a non-conformist, who is bound by his own sense of justice and revenge. A sense not grounded in reality but pure evil, unadulterated.

Josh Brolin is equally brilliant as a man who makes a conscious decision not to redeem himself in any way possible and accept the consequences however grotesque for  a man who crosses a moral boundary with no way of turning back.

Tommy Lee Jones mirrors the path of the psychopathic killer, from drinking the same milk to staring at the same emptiness of a TV screen not quite tuned into the world. A cynical sheriff, a man who has becomes speculative, a watch on all the macabre episodes, not realizing the gravity of the events, but only its significant consequences…

Utlimately, there is no sense of redemption in a film like No Country for Old Men, no cathartic assurances, just a deep valued sense of tragedy which its dark vision never compromises on, leaving the viewer wasted, but realizing that they have watched a film exceptionally profound. No Country for Old Men won four Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay from the novel by Cormac McCarthy and of course Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem’s spine chilling portrayal of a hitman.

Naturally it’s Your Name that Counts

The Walker

Everyone loves a Scandal

Everyone loves a Scandal

Paul Schrader’s tale of scandal and sexual intrigue…

The Walker is stylish and superbly written film by Paul Schrader, director of such disturbingly transgressive movies as The Comfort of Strangers and AutoFocus. Like his other films, Schrader’s classic murder mystery focuses on eccentric characters embroiled with dubious sexuality and moral deviancy set in modern day Washington DC. Woody Harrelson takes the role of Southerner Carter Page III, an effeminate companion to the wives of senators and power-hungry politicians escorting them to elegant social occasions in the American Capital’s array of Embassy receptions and Gala Operas.

Vain, witty and immaculately dressed in cufflinks and double breasted suits, Carter Page is a throwback from a more genteel age, playing canasta at a discreet hotel every Wednesday with his close circle of lady friends, played with great luminosity by such talented actresses as the wry Lily Tomlin, the husky-voiced Lauren Bacall and the delicately elusive Kristin Scott Thomas.

When one of these friends is seemingly involved in a murder, scandal is imminent and Carter decides to play devil’s advocate trying to protect his friend, Lynn Lockner, a senator’s wife (Scott Thomas), while attempting to maintain his own social standing in this precariously powerful society, where politicians are out for blood and scandals follow indiscretions and whispering campaigns could ruin reputations.

What Schrader as director and writer of this insightful film does so brilliantly is to create a contrast between the world of Washington’s high society and the more secretive one of the capital’s homosexual community, where relationships are fragile and even under threat. Harrelson is excellent at playing the complex Carter Page, a socialite born and bred of Virginian stock and what is known as a Walker (or companion) of these wealthy ladies, whose husbands are busy with the cut-throat world of American politics, while also trying to maintain a secret relationship with his foreign lover, a news journalist and photographer who’s only dream is to live in a more openly accepted environment like New York’s Soho. With plush interiors of elegant hotels and salons juxtaposed against the harsh bureaucracy of police stations and dim back alley bars, Schrader creates a sense in The Walker that behind the façade of polite society there lurks alternative underworlds of devious deceptions and sinister encounters, especially true in the slippery and dangerous intersecting worlds of politics and sexual encounters.


Besides creating these contrasting settings, the characters in the film ooze wit and sophistication, not to mention an exaggerated opinion of themselves, while also displaying the hypocrisy, greed and ambition which many of the rich and famous for prey to. Schrader also leaves countless clues to the points of reference by which he would like the viewer to see his film, from exquisite art works, to works by Dominick Dunne, the New York social commentator and Truman Capote as well as sharp references to America’s current involvement in Iraq, as the camera picks up on random Television images underlined by the photography that Carter Page’s lover does, photographs of naked men masked and chained up, reminiscent of those tortured Iraqi prisoners held in American foreign custody, which came to the media’s attention recently.

The Walker is an intelligent and witty film, a measured social commentary on the centers of political power, and the people that control a nations destiny, while sacrificing their own. I would recommend it as essential viewing to anyone who appreciates stylish filmmaking and has a sophisticated sense of how intricately woven aspects of politics, sexuality and wealth are to making up a society as powerful and dominant as the USA.


Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • VidAngel Declares Bankruptcy To Put Copyright Fight on Hold
    VidAngel, the Utah-based streaming service that filters out offensive content, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday. The filing is designed to put its copyright battle with three major studios on hold, as it seeks to expand its new filtering service. “We have millions in the bank, and we’re already making millions on the new system,” […]
    gmaddaus
  • Chelsea Handler’s Netflix Talk Show Cancelled After Two Seasons
    Chelsea Handler’s Netflix talk show “Chelsea” has been cancelled after two seasons. Handler tweeted the news on Wednesday. In a statement posted online, she wrote, “Like so many across the country, the past presidential election and the countless events that have unfolded since have galvanized me. From the national level down to the grassroots, it’s […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Mindy Kaling to Produce Two Comedies in Development at NBC From ‘Mindy Project’ Team (EXCLUSIVE)
    Mindy Kaling has signed on to executive produce two comedy projects in development at NBC that hail from the creative team behind “The Mindy Project,” Variety has learned exclusively. The first is a currently untitled series from Lang Fisher, who is a co-executive producer, writer, and director on “The Mindy Project.” The series would follow the dedicated diplomats […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, More: Get to Know CMT’s Artists of the Year
    For the network’s annual Artists of the Year telecast, taking place tonight (Oct. 18) in Nashville, CMT has elected not to hand out any actual trophies on stage, in deference to the hurricanes, fires, and mass shootings that have taken a toll on the national mood and cast the distribution of celebrity honors in a […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • Frank Ocean Defeats His Father’s ‘Super Sad’ Libel Case
    Frank Ocean has defeated the $14.5 million libel suit that his father, Calvin Cooksey, filed against him earlier this year, according to Law360. A California federal judge ruled that Cooksey had not proved that Ocean defamed him with a 2016 Tumblr post, in which he recalled a childhood incident in which his father called a transgender waitress an […]
    Jem Aswad