The Walker

The Walker


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

"Just what exactly does he do?" asks an arresting officer after Carter Page III is brought in for questioning over an acquaintance's death.

"He's a walker," explains his colleague. "He walks rich women from place to place."

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Carter Page III is a man who seems to do little else beyond keeping company with rich women and various other glamorous, politically influential Washington friends. Early on in this film, you'd be forgiven for thinking that he is little else. Perhaps his own opinion is not so different. Everything about his life is stylised, ordered, elegantly superficial. His slow Virginia accent belies a quick intellect which, it gradually emerges, gives him the edge over just about everyone else around. This, together with the homosexuality which ensures he'll never seduce one of the women or have a hope of posing a political threat, is the reason why he's survived for so long. But when his acquaintance Robbie is murdered - and when, on a whim, he decides to help his friend Lynn cover up the fact that she was having an affair with the dead man - Carter embarks on a journey which places his whole world in jeopardy.

The Walker is a mystery story, but ultimately the real mystery is not Robbie's death - it's Carter's life. His gradually developing awareness of this is beautifully played by Woody Harrelson, who is supported by an all-star cast including the increasingly interesting Kristin Scott Thomas, the divine Lauren Bacall and the underrated Moritz Bleibtreu.

As Carter's photographer boyfriend Emek, Bleibtreu provides raw, uncompromising emotional input in a story which might otherwise be just a bit too subtle for its own good; at first it's hard to understand what he and Carter and doing together, but that's only because the more complex underlying elements of Carter's personality have yet to be revealed. Hints early on come from the fact that he never tells his own personal stories and never says more than he wants to about anything, for all that he talks all the time. If you're a conspirator looking for a scapegoat, he's not the man to choose.

Many people may take their first look at The Walker and recoil, expecting everything to be as sumptuous and empty as the set dressing. Don't let it fool you. This is a sharp political thriller which also has something pertinent to say about the nature of human experience. It's a real cinematic gem disguised as a rhinestone.

Reviewed on: 31 Jul 2007
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Investigating a murder mystery, a sophisticated male escort discovers some unexpected things about himself.
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Chris ****

Director: Paul Schrader

Writer: Paul Schrader

Starring: Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Moritz Bleibtreu, Ned Beatty, Mary Beth Hurt, Lily Tomlin, Willem Dafoe

Year: 2007

Runtime: 107 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US, UK


CFF 2007

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