After viewing The Walker I feel this may be his most fully realized movie, but nobody seems to have seen it—one of best political mysteries in recent times, it has Woody Harrelson in a good performance, Lauren Bacall, Kristin Scott Thomas, and others. Share with me what you think or know about it—it was barely released in US.
It was a well-made film, and Harrelson was quite good in it, and I guess it was in some ways necessary for Schrader to form a trilogy out of his whole “man in his room” trope—Carter Page III, get it?—but for me my appreciation of this movie was somewhat washed out by its reprisal of tropes, themes, and motifs (which themselves have their origins in Schrader’s misreading of Bresson’s Pickpocket ) from not only American Gigolo and Light Sleeper, but Taxi Driver as well. By the way, the title character is based on Jerry Zipkin:
for whom the term “walker” was coined.
Anyway, it’s a worthwhile film, but I not sure where I’d place it among Schrader’s work.
I saw the film in the theater and Schrader was there for a Q&A afterwards. I enjoyed the film and thought it was an interesting part of society that I didn’t know very much about (I’d never heard of a Walker before). I was a little surprised it didn’t get a wider release but that’s sort of par for the course with Schrader films. They’re not the most mainstream, easy to digest stories that interest him.
I haven’t seen the film since I saw it in the theater about a year and a half ago so I should probably check it out again. My only beef that I can recall is that it seemed a bit slow and disjointed – that the narrative wasn’t fully realized. But I really don’t remember it too much so I can’t point to something in particular.
I didn’t really care for it though I agree the performances were good, particularly Woody Harrelson.
Yes it’s excellent.
Paul says it was sabotaged by Woody Harrelson who refused to do any publicity for it. Why I have no idea as his performance is excellent. The real surprise is Lauren Bacall, who could have walked though the whole thing quite easily but instead pulls off one of the very greatest performances of her long career. Her climactic confrontation with Harrelson had the hairs at the back of my head standing up on end.
The story is very “inside Beltway” and deadly accurate in ways a bonehead like Oliver Stone will never understand.
For once Paul puts the “Pickpocket” scene in the middle, rather than the end. And after all these years of being the cinema’s premiere male fag-hag he FINALLY shows that he understands gay men.
Nedd I tell you to rush to your nearest DVD supplier?
I enjoyed it. It’s no “Auto Focus”. Schhhmile!
David, what do you think of Schrader, overall? For me, he’s a more than very capable filmmaker, who has chosen, unwisely, to predicate so much of his work (original screenplays) on “Pickpocket”. It’s like a paint-by-numbers exercise- insert redemption here. When he turns away from all that he creates work like “Affliction” which is as solid a piece of filmmaking has he’s ever done, maybe his best. I always root for him though, because he’s one of those guys out on the margins, who risks much and who I want to do well. He’s an inspiration that way.
I haven’t seen “Adam Resurrected”. It sounds fascinatingly bizarre. Have you seen it; what can you say about it?
Also, David, what’s Michael Tolkin doing lately? I see he shares screenplay credit with Anthony Minghella for “Nine”, but as a director, he’s fallen right off the radar.
Want to see The Walker—it is now showing for free on Instant Watching at Nexflix—a rare perhaps last chance to see it!
Paul’s a very complex man. He has great taste and great insight, but has been seriously damaged by his religious upbringing. He’s not a “natural” as a director. But in recent years he has come through quite strikingly, particularly in “Light Sleeper” and “The Walker.” “Adam Ressurrected” is interesting but not entirely successful. it wasn’t a projec that originated with him and he didn’t write the script.
No idea what’s up with Tolkin.
The Walker wasn’t bad, I wouldn’t say it’s Schrader’s best film, but it was certainly worth seeing. Harrellson is perfect for the role and the whole concept behind the film is very interesting and a subject not much covered in mainstream cinema. I was disappointed in certain areas of the film because it seemed like Schrader was simply retreading the same old themes that he’d done previously (and better) in films like Taxi Driver. It’s probably because of that aspect that I think the film suffers, if there was no Taxi Driver, the film would be better, but it’s a rehash of the typical Schrader antihero that’s not as worthwhile as I’d hoped it would be.
Also FYI – Patty Hearst is also available via Netflix Instant Viewing—until the end of this month.
I enjoyed it as well. People have referenced Taxi Driver in discussing it, when its really another look at Julian Kaye, the protagonist of American Gigolo. A man walking through high society through the good graces of women. This alliance is more fragile than the protagonist realizes. As he slides down in social standing and moves closer to incarceration, he has to look at himself — for the first time in years — and see who he truly is. Only then can grace be achieved. To me that’s Schrader’s theme and he can’t help but keep writing it again and again.
It’s an obvious point of comparasion but in “The Walker” his relationships with women aren’t sexual. He’s a “aughty and irreverent” friend to whom they can confide their secrets, cause he’ll never ever tell. When Kristin Scott Thomas finds her lover dead he steps in almost instinctively, being “a gentleman” and all. The tthing is it’s tons more seriosu than he bargained for, and the women he thought were his closest pals really aren’t.
The anti-hero of “American Gigolo” was living a high-roller’s extisence. As long as remained young and gorgeous all would be well. He never considered what life would be like for him wen he got too old for the game. Of course circumstances no one could have preducted intervene. “The Walker” is anoht story entirely. He lives on the margins of the Beltway Big Time. His life is carefully circumscribed. it’s all, he claims, he really wants.
Most telling is his speech about coupled gays who he claims to despise. He doesn’t live with his lover. But as the film unfolds it’s clear that he not only needs him because he’s in danger, but because he feels for him a lot more than he’s willing to admit — even to himself.
I’ve going to have to see it again now.