Sunday 19 April 2009

The Walker

The Walker is a 2007 movie, directed by Paul Schrader, which apparently went straight to DVD after a poor initial reception. But on viewing it the other night, I thought it quite a watchable movie, and notable for an appearance by the legendary Lauren Bacall, playing an elderly socialite.

The setting is Washington D.C., and the rich ladies of the city while away their time in the company of Woody Harrelson, who plays Carter Page III. Carter, the gay son of a hero of Watergate, is the eponymous ‘walker’ – that is, he keeps the ladies entertained while their men busy themselves in the murky world of politics. One of the ladies is played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and Carter drives her to her lover’s home. But she soon comes rushing out, saying that he has been stabbed to death. Carter takes care of her, but himself becomes the prime suspect in the murder investigation.

Schrader depicts the pre-Obama Washington scene with a careful, though often contemptuous, eye. Thomas is very good as the brittle woman under pressure and Harrelson, not an actor I’ve often watched, is effective in a difficult role. The film is neatly scripted, though rather under-stated at times. A competent piece of film-making.

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