Friday, August 31, 2007

The Walker

I’m going to start by saying that this is definitively a movie not for all audiences, much less for those who expect a crime genre movie. This is drama and a very strong drama in the most unusual way as is told with a very stylish narrative.

Directed and written by Paul Schrader, this film tells the story of a gay man Carter Page III of great political ancestry that lives in Washington D.C., works as a real estate agent, but his real vocation is as a walker. A walker is a sort of unpaid escort for the wives of rich and powerful men, squiring ladies to public events when their husbands aren’t free or inclined to come. A term coined to describe Jerry Zipkin, who “walked” Nancy Reagan and Betsy Bloomingdale among others and held weekly canasta games where he and selected femme friends would swap gossip. So, the story evolves when Carter becomes involved in a crime that just spurs out the bad in all those Washington D.C. politicians and socialites; but also becomes his own personal closure with unfinished business with his dead father.

The movie is extremely well made and in all, the movie is as frivolous and fleeting as its main protagonist played by a Woody Harrelson I never imagined and truly fascinated me and I’m no fan of him. Is totally his movie and he performs up to high standards. We also have Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall and Lily Tomlin giving strong performances as those Washington D.C. ladies.

The cinematography is quite nice especially in the interior scenes with an indirect blinds-like light that gives a darkish mood and lavish décor that accurately shows the life of the rich and powerful. But what really caught my attention is the music score and particularly the song at the end while the credits run. This music score is a keeper.

The screenplay has some dialogue that is so sarcastic that is outstanding, like when Page says “I’m not naïve, I’m superficial” and believe me he is exquisitely superficial for the most part of the movie; or when Bacall’s character says: “Memory is a very unreliable organ. It’s right up there with the penis”. Both quotes are great examples of what you’ll find in this movie and not only in the dialogue but also when the actors perform.

This is a seriously refined movie that shows the vulgarity and hypocrisy of the powerful class; so, obviously is a movie where you have to pay attention to everything that is happening.

Have to say that since it was screened in the 2007 Berlinale called my attention and I am very glad that I was able to see such a sophisticated and at the same time superficial movie.

I not feel certain to whom shall I recommend this type of movie as it is quite difficult, but I can say that is a movie that you will love it or hate it, there is no middle ground here.

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