A hallucinatory biopic that breaks all cinematic conventions, Walker_, from British director Alex Cox (_Repo Man, Sid & Nancy), tells the story of nineteenth-century American adventurer William Walker (Ed Harris), who abandoned a series of careers in law, politics, journalism, and medicine to become a soldier of fortune, and for several years dictator of Nicaragua. Made with mad abandon and political acuity—and the support of the Sandinista army and government during the Contra war—the film uses this true tale as a satirical attack on American ultrapatriotism and a freewheeling condemnation of “manifest destiny.” Featuring a powerful score by Joe Strummer and a performance of intense, repressed rage by Harris, Walker remains one of Cox’s most daring works. —The Criterion Collection
English director Alex Cox studied law at Oxford—at least until being deflected into theatre through his participation in the University’s drama department. Cox switched to a film studies program at University of Bristol, received a Fulbright scholarship, then traveled to the United States to attend the UCLA film school. His plans to become the next Welles or Scorsese were muddied by several years’ inactivity, during which time he took a job repossessing automobiles. Drawing from the experience, Cox made his feature-film directorial bow with the wildly inconsistent but very entertaining Repo Man (1984), which served as one of the first starring assignments of Emilio Estevez. Repo Man’s musical score was drenched in punk-rock, a symbolic form of violent rebellion explored further in Cox’s Sid and Nancy (1987), a fascinating if depressing chronicle of the life and death of “punk” musician Sid Vicious and groupie Nancy Spungen. Critically celebrated for both films, Cox’s reputation declined… read more
With inexcusable presumption and appalling taste, Cox casually tacks onto the closing credits real footage of mass graves and grief-stricken children, an audacity wholly unearned by the preceding 94 minutes of facile ironies and interminable sub-Peckinpah violence. The risible anachronisms helpfully alert the mentally deficient to the supposed parallels between Walker's enterprise and current events. Did not like.
Moves up higher on my list of favorite films every time I see it. Top Ten at least right now. Ed Harris is a maniac, Cox flexs his most cinematic muscles, Strummer's score is amazing, and did I mention it was smart, action packed and friggin' hilarious??
An anarchic, apocalyptic vision from Alex Cox, an absolute one-of-a-kind filmmaker. Walker is a political satire, bloody spaghetti western, historical biopic, and absurdist comedy all rolled into one. Too bizarre to be mainstream, and too ambitious to be a cult film. So it was sadly overlooked. Features a brilliant, crazed performance by Ed Harris and a haunting score by Joe Strummer.