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"The Walker"

Directed by Paul Schrader.
Written by Paul Schrader.
Starring Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Moritz Bleibtreu and Lauren Bacall.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  12/12/07


Yikes!  "The Walker" was absolutely fucking awful, unless you are really, really old and like movies that suck.

Paul Schrader (who is listed as directing "American Gigolo" but also having directed the 2005 straight-to-video flick "Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist") makes "The Walker" look like a really good thriller, at least during the opening credits.  Then, the movie starts, and like a shitty jar of molasses, the whole movie falls apart and as it does, it moves very, very slowly to tell us what is happening.  Basically, a homosexual escort named Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson, who drawls his way through this entire film) drives one of his rich women (Kristin Scott Thomas) to her lover's house one lovely afternoon, only to discover that the woman's lover is dead of multiple stab wounds.  To protect this woman--she's the wife of a congressman (Willem Dafoe) living in Washington--Carter shuttles the woman home, then comes back to the lover's house, where he calls the cops and plays the role of innocent passer-by...and, this only gets him into more trouble, with a number of other shady people who speak incredibly slowly for almost two hours.

I should have known something was up when this freebie didn't fill our entire theater; worse, the geriatric set (Meg has a better way to describe "Old Folks" than I do) dominated the audience in my theater.  They were right at home, with an aw-shucks performance by Harrelson and surprises that were covered by a see-through veil.  "The Walker" seems to have nothing original going for it, although it is a pretty film to look at thanks to exquisite costumes on the leads and a Washington setting.  Although it deals with murder, backroom dealings, and sexual liaisons, none of it was interesting, funny, dangerous, dramatic, etc.  The film is incredibly blah, and while I can't put my finger on why this is, I do know that this wouldn't even pass muster with HBO's filmmaking department, let alone major motion picture studios...maybe as a Hallmark Movie of the Week, but not as something that should ever appear in a theater.

Man, I was surprised at how bad this was.  2007 has really been bad for most of the star-laden indies that I have seen this year!

Rating:  Hard Vice


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09