Bil’s rating (out of 5): B.5. USA/United Kingdom, 2007. Kintop Pictures, Ingenious Film Partners, Isle of Man Film, Paul Schrader Productions, The Walk. Screenplay by Paul Schrader. Cinematography by Chris Seager. Produced by Deepak Nayar. Music by Anne Dudley. Production Design by James Merifield. Costume Design by Nic Ede. Film Editing by Julian Rudd. Toronto International Film Festival 2007.
Woody Harrelson plays a southern aristocrat in Washington who has concluded the legacy started by his tobacco giant grandfather and politician father with a career as a “walker”, an ornamental dandy who spends his days entertaining rich political wives. When not playing canasta with lunching ladies Lauren Bacall and Lily Tomlin, he spends time with his downtown artist boyfriend or helping his best friend (Kristin Scott Thomas), also a political wife, cover up for her affair with another man. When Scott Thomas’s lover turns up dead and she skips town, Harrelson keeps silent on her behalf despite the cost to his own social life; phone calls stop being returned and physical danger comes into play, but for him this is an opportunity to find some substance in his existence. Terrific performances and a brilliant concept don’t add up to much in this Paul Schrader film, one that could benefit from more of the seedy-underbelly exploration that usually make his films worthwhile. Harrelson especially is in top form, but the plot works out to a series of interesting but unmotivating conversations; there just isn’t enough risk involved here.