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  • cchase7 June 2008
    Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson) is effete, witty, charming, full of himself and full of ripe, juicy, trenchant commentary on the Washington social scene and its denizens. He has to be - it is literally his life. Carter is what's known in Washingtonian parlance as a "walker". He squires about the rich and powerful wives of the rich and powerful men on the Hill, whenever they require a male escort to attend dinners, benefits and other social gatherings. You know - the ones their husbands would rather jump off a building than attend. And because Carter is a bonafied "Friend of Dorothy," there's none of that pesky bother of having to worry if he'll climb into the wives' beds, the way he slips so smoothly into their confidences.

    But somewhere between the glittering parties and the bon-mot laden games of canasta, reality bites in the form of a brutal murder; the victim being the lover of one of Carter's "special friends." Ever the dutiful confidante, Carter covers for her without realizing exactly what he's letting himself in for, especially when the connections he thought he had begin to dry up and wither like the flowers on a table from a party that ended years ago. Though he literally has spent his life putting the "art" into artifice, Carter must now look beyond the boundaries of his superficiality and that of his so-called friends and acquaintances, if he wants to save his own hide.

    The "outsider looking in", even if he is part of the world that holds him at arm's length is one of director Paul Schrader's favorite themes; one he has visited repeatedly, whether he served as a writer (TAXI DRIVER), a director (AUTO FOCUS) or both (AMERICAN GIGOLO) as he does here. As he explores it yet again using the country's seat of power as his landscape, he is certainly served well by an outstanding cast.

    Harrelson's acting has never been as subtle and yet powerful as he inhabits Carter, rather than just playing the character. Kristin Scott-Thomas radiates beauty and desperation as his friend-in-trouble, and the ensemble is well-rounded out by Willem Dafoe as Scott-Thomas's husband; the regal presence of Lauren Bacall; Lily Tomlin in a very restrained mode as a power broker's wife; Ned Beatty as her husband, Mary Beth Hurt as another one of Carter's "canasta" group and William Hope as an extremely unpleasant Attorney General who is very reminiscent of a certain Mr. Spitzer.

    Special mention must be made of Moritz Bleibtreu as Emek, Carter's German-Iranian boyfriend and the only person who really stands by him when the designer crap hits the fan, and has nothing to gain from it but his partner's love. (Well, there IS the matter of finding a gallery to exhibit his politically-charged photo art, based explicitly on the the Abu Ghraib scandal). But kudos to Bleibtreu for matching Harrelson as they modulate the complexities of their relationship without falling back on the usual stereotypical tics and camp flourishes.

    With the lush production design and costuming augmented by the oh-so fitting songs of Brian Ferry (which Anne Dudley's nearly ambient score is based upon), THE WALKER is a pretty film to look at and be taken in pretty and alluring as Carter is himself. Until you discover - as he himself does - that underneath all the trappings, the wealth, the elitist vanity is a void, where friendship, compassion, love, fidelity...not a single one of those things really exists. The movie isn't so much about him solving the murder mystery that hangs over him like the Sword of Damocles, but the "mystery of his own life" - finding all of those things he traded in for life among the political elite.

    Not a light and frivolous way to pass the time, much like most Schrader films. In fact, many viewers might turn it off before getting halfway through. But the Oscar-worthy work from Harrelson is definitely worth sticking around for.
  • THE WALKER (defined as a man who escorts rich ladies around town in their leisure) is both a pungent political comment and a fine mystery from Paul Schrader who both wrote and directed this smart film and had the good fortune to surround his tale with a fine cast of actors. It may not be a film for everyone, but it will satisfy viewers who tire of superficial fluff films, allowing time to ponder the way we live and converse today.

    Carter Page III (Woody Harelson in one of his finest performances) is an openly gay, well- heeled, dapper man about town who devotes his life to pleasing the wealthy wives of men in high government levels in Washington, DC. Together with Abby (Lily Tomlin), Natalie (Lauren Bacall), Chrissy (Mary Beth Hurt), and Lynn (Kristin Scott Thomas) the group gossips, plays canasta in an expensive hotel parlor, and confides secrets that are surefire rumor fodder. Lynn is escorted by Carter to her lover's home for a tryst only to find the lover murdered. Carter attempts to protect Lynn from scandal only to become implicated himself. Carter discovers secrets about his own insecurities, and while he is solidly supported by his lover Emek (the excellent Moritz Bleibtreu), an artist of strange works that prove subtle background connotations of the mystery that is unwinding, he must face the realities of his decision when confronting husbands, lawyers, police, and intelligence agents (portrayed by such fine actors as Ned Beatty, Willem Defoe, William Hope and Geff Francis). The story is, in many ways, an examination of the corruption in Washington, DC - a fact that may explain why it did not enjoy a long theater run.

    For viewers who appreciate fine dialogue and a smart story with well-delineated characters portrayed by superb actors, this is a film that should not be neglected. Grady Harp
  • Harrelson is Carter Page III. Unfortunate son of a great man, fortunate son of a dynasty of plantation owners; what does he do? He spends a day a week as a real estate agent and fails to chase up a gallery opening for his lover's photography. What he really does is move with grace through the social circles of the Washington wives. All is well, passing off lines of Tennessee Williams and playing canasta, until by chance he is dragged into a murder investigation. Forced, in his own words, into a choice between "being disloyal and being dishonest" the film follows Carter's progress as events take him into murkier waters where it is no longer enough just to smile at the chaos and hope that it will pass.

    In Schrader's script the dialogue crackles, for the most part, and the narrative is traced out with skill. The film does not aspire to the pace of a thriller but achieves a constant tension. Harrelson's performance is magnificent and he is ably supported by Bacall, Scott-Thomas and a sphinx like Geff Francis as the detective on the case.

    'The Walker' is not a genre film and may disappoint those looking for a ripping yarn about a murder, but judged on its own terms it is a success. There are off notes; moments of dialogue strike as contrived and some imagery is unsubtle, but all said it is engrossing and like all really good cinema there can be no doubt that it is about something important.
  • The Walker is about a profession many of us aren't aware of: socialites like Mr. Carter Page III, who escort ladies who happened to be the wives of senators and congressman around Washington DC and play cards and socialize (hence the 'social' part of the title). But it's also about a murder mystery, where a man is killed who is connected with Lynn Lockner, married to senator Larry Lockner. Who killed him, for what motive, and what are the connections and the fall-out of the scandal, are all a part of the narrative for Paul Schrader, the mind-games of Washington, the slick veneer and quietly accepted facts of corruption and greed and, usually, scandal. But it's also about this man, the Walker, how he is viewed by the women he is polite to (indeed his politeness is pointed out as a weakness, as "Don't be so polite" in this DC society), and his own self flagged by the legacy of his father, a hero in the eyes of many in DC. Oh, and he's gay, though this is only the ice on the cake.

    For Paul Schrader, it's a mature work that shows him skillfully working out this side of DC that is fresh in perspective. He is able to write the dramatic scenes much better, however, than those of that of a thriller. One senses Schrader's investment in his own material hit high points when he just has two people in a room talking about the heart of a matter, like an argument between Carter and Emek that is really all about Carter's father but exactly about Carter the whole time, or a scene between Carter and Lauren Bacall's elder lady when he finds out a vital piece of information (the "black sheep" dialog). Scenes like those are very good, while a chase scene down an alley feels weaker, filmed with tired and repetitive dutch angles and close-ups.

    So, if it isn't quite one of Schrader's best films, albeit not his worst, it is definitely an achievement for Harrelson. He disappears into the character of Carter Page III (note the III) as an effeminate but strong-willed Southern man who hides his baldness with a hair piece and keeps his politeness and calm demeanor as something that is partly natural and partly a cover for what is really deep down someone who has disappointed others around him. It's so fascinating to see this actor who, indeed, once was a co-star in White Men Can't Jump, tackle such a complex character and succeed in every scene with depth and sensitivity and subtlety. He is nothing less than totally absorbing, especially up against old pros like Bacall and Ned Beatty.
  • "Whoever has looked deeply into the world might well guess what wisdom lies in the superficiality of men," is a quotation attributed to Nietzsche. The first half of The Walker could be said to demonstrate such a principle, particularly the mien of its chief protagonist, Carter Page III (flawlessly played by Woody Harrelson). Yet the second half would give that observation an altogether more cynical meaning. One appropriate to the very men that Page despises.

    Page exhibits the exquisite superficiality ("I'm not naïve: I'm superficial") so often associated with camp intellectuals (as well as a capacity for self-adulation). We first meet him during an opening panning shot that examines the luxurious wall fabrics in the room where several voices can be heard. Wall furnishings are something that Page III can associate with. Both in a literal aesthetic sense, and also as a man that is walled in by the societal prejudices against his homosexuality. One step removed from the visceral world of those who can openly admit their true feelings, Page III examines the details of everyday life with dispassion and critical elegance. But when his friend Lynn Lockner (wife of a liberal senator) discovers a murder, he is torn between two paths, both equally morally repugnant.

    While not quite a saint, Page III has a much higher sense of decency than the political connivers and sexually bigoted people that surround him. These people use superficial appearances to make money, win office, or rise at any cost. Their 'wisdom' is simply that of the top dog – having torn and bloodied anyone who stood in their way.

    Bacall, instantly recognisable by her charismatic voice, is the perfect foil for Page's charm and mendacity. Quick-witted, she reminds us of her early characters in films like To Have and Have Not and Key Largo. "You were just a young slip of a girl, not the beautiful woman you are now," says Page. "Cut the sh*t!" she replies, without for a minute losing her majestic gravitas.

    Page is a 'Walker' – although working one day a week in a real estate office, his main income is comes from when he "walks rich women from place to place." The term was coined for Jerry Zipkin, who was Nancy Reagan's 'walker'. His duties include amusing gossip, taking Lynn to the opera and a weekly game of canasta. Immaculately dressed and coiffured, he inhabits the world of the unostentatiously rich without ever becoming a main player. His father was a respected governor and his father before him a successful businessman ("My grandfather always talked like a man with a bible half-open in his head."). He is gay, and therefore not a threat. And he is well-read, well-bred, and a delightful conversationalist.

    Yet although Harrelson stars in every scene, The Walker succeeds very much as an ensemble piece. Bacall and Kristin Scott Thomas have a fair share of excellent lines. "Memory is a very unreliable organ," says Bacall: "It's right up there with the penis." Kristin Scott Thomas also gives Page a fair run for his money. When he says dismissively in a conversation that, "it's just sex," she retorts with, "And that stuff you're breathing is just oxygen!" Page has an unlikely lover in the form of Emek Yoglu, a German-Turkish artist whose photography is too politically loaded for Page's tastes. But the main man in Page's life is his dead father, who symbolises both the success Page III has never achieved and perhaps moral double-standards that he loathes. Yet at the same time Page himself leads a life a double-life, not out of choice but because it is forced on him.

    Writer/director Paul Schrader picked Washington DC as the setting for the film because of "the deep hypocrisy of the town, Washington and Salt lake City are two of the last cities in America where sexual hypocrisy is mandated, and here is a character living a false and superficial life, so it seemed an ideal place for it." It is one of Schrader's best scripts (apart from a few unlikely coincidences to move the plot along) and the performances are perfect. The lush cinematography sucks us into the world of the rich and stylish (with Bryan Ferry songs to assure us it's OK) so that 'reality' – in the form of murder most foul – is all the more unsettling. Only as the authorities brazenly attempt to implicate Page do some of his hairs come out of place. "This is a mean crowd, this administration," he admits falteringly. (Lynn calls them 'the cave dwellers'). They can't catch him for what he hasn't done so they'll find something else. "It's perjury that catches people out," the investigator says to him (with shades of Clinton witch-hunting).

    The loner-whose-world-crumbles-around him is a favourite premise for Schrader and the subtle political complexities are home territory for Harrelson, who is no stranger to such themes in films such as North Country, Wag the Dog, Welcome to Sarajevo and The People vs. Larry Flynt. But the film's weakness is its constant subtlety. We are expected to be fascinated by the undercurrents, the hidden cards – so much so that some audiences may switch off. The Walker is clever and perfectly executed but, like its subject matter, is a superficial observer of the dilemmas it grapples with at arm's length.

    Perhaps such prominence of aesthetics over substance is the way to provoke discussion of the problems dealt with so obtusely. "I think film is a great medium to be able to discuss such issues," says Kristin Scott Thomas. "Although politics changes very rapidly, it also repeats itself over and over in a different context. When you see films that are making a comment about the political situation of a certain time and then you see another film thirty years later and you have the same kind of issue, it creates discussion and that is very important."
  • To be a walker is to be something if not someone or, if you prefer, a walker is someone without being something. Whatever way you look at it, there is something that it's desperately not there. Woody Harrelson and his character, act. Acting as a way of life. Trying to be trivial all the time runs the risk of making triviality something truly important. We're standing on the sidelines looking in without seeing because if we saw, well, if we saw, things may be dramatically different. This is a film by Paul Schrader - a master in getting into the hearts and souls of the outsiders - and Harrelson is an outsider living in, with a very specific awareness. Great! A film to savor and listen to, attentively. Not very often one can actually say that. Other than Harrelson, Lauren Bacall, Kristin Scott Thomas and Lily Tomlin shine.
  • Great script, direction and acting.

    The pacing is deliberate as character development (and exposition) is so key to the story. On the other hand, the last few scenes of the film seem a bit rushed as the main source of dramatic tension is resolved somewhat abruptly.

    Overall a strong film, with standout performances from Harrelson, Bacall, Scott-Thomas, and Bleibtreu.

    On a more personal note ...

    I screened this at the Toronto International Film Festival as it premiered at Roy Thomson Hall. There was a projection problem midway into the film, caused by a bad splice. An intermission was announced to give the technical team sufficient time to re-splice the film.

    During this intermission, which ended up stretching to nearly 45 minutes, Mr. Schrader and Ms. Bacall took the stage and entertained the audience with a far-ranging and candid Q & A session. This was a very generous and gracious gesture, and very much appreciated.

    It was a real treat to see Ms. Bacall in this film and at the premiere. She is a legend many times over, and 60+ years into her storied career, she continues to exude class, strength and glamour. They don't make stars like this anymore, and we are the poorer for it.
  • THE WALKER is an extremely biting, well written, dark suspense thriller by Paul Schrader with a knock out cast of actors that blend right into their nasty characters with humor and a killing sense of themselves and their self worth. As one character points out, "it's always about the money", and in THE WALKER, I would say that it is ALWAYS about POWER and the perception of what people think of you and the power you hold.

    Woody Harrelson is simply terrific in his role of "Walker", and you are reminded of Truman Capote and the attention he gave to society women to propel his importance of being a "gossip monger". The film also brings to the surface the superficiality of "nail a star, be a star", and the underlying elements of what it takes to make it in Washington politics. THE WALKER, like CAPOTE and INFAMOUS, leaves you with a desire to find a life built on something more than being famous and well known and for Woody Harrelson, to create a relationship built upon the honesty of his sexuality.
  • jotix1002 January 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    Carter Page III is charming, witty, and very gay. As such, he has become indispensable for a group of idle society ladies in Washington. Carter is descendant of an aristocratic Southern family, whose lineage goes way back in time, giving him the right to be among the rich and powerful in the nation's capital. He dabbles in fashion and gossip; he is the owner of an establishment where all the well connected ladies must go for their redecorating plans. They rely on Carter Page III for all the right chintz to cover their mansions.

    When we first meet him, he is playing cards with three of his closest friends, Lynn, his favorite, Natalie, an older lady, and Abigail. All these women love Carter's repartee. After all, Carter is famous for his connections as well as his epigrams and wit. Lynn, in particular, seems to rely on Carter to be with her when she goes to her trysts. Carter loves the idea of being of service to such an important woman, who also happens to be a U.S. senator's wife.

    The problem is the lover is dead in his apartment. Lynn, who has a lot at stake, must not be connected in any way to a scandal, let alone one in which sex is involved. Lynn realizes what she stands to lose right away; she never took into consideration the consequence of what she was doing. It is at this particular moment that she decides to drop Carter like a hot potato.

    Carter, who had nothing to do with the murder, is a suspect. Never mind he is having an affair with a Turkish photographer and has nothing to do with Lynn's problem. Since his name circulates with the slaying, all the society friends avoid him like the plague. Let's face it, he was good while he was not connected in any way with the crime, but now, everyone turns his back on him.

    Paul Schrader, who wrote and directed "The Walker", is a man with an uncanny gift for setting up a definite style in the movies. Proof of this was his "American Gigolo", which hasn't got anything to do with this film, but the viewer can finds traces of the former picture in this one in unexpected places.

    Woody Harrelson's Carter is an amazing characterization for an actor that tends to select other kinds of roles for his movie appearances. He is the embodiment of a fastidious gay man about town that loves to escort the right kind of woman to all those opera galas and dinners which are avoided by the husband like the plague. He is perfect for the part.

    Kristin Scott Thomas, an elegant actress, is also at her best in her take of Lynn, a politician's wife who cares more about her reputation in society at whatever expense. Lauren Bacall plays Natalie, a wise old woman who has seen too much of the behind scenes situations in Washington and the only one that shows sympathy toward Carter. Lily Tomlin is the last one of the initial group, a woman married to a powerful man who also abandons her friend. Ned Beatty plays Abigail's husband and William Dafoe is totally wasted as Lynn's husband.

    The costumes by Nic Ede give the idea of the elegant world these people move in. James Merifield's production design gives us a taste for those places one rarely gets a chance to see. The cinematography is by Chris Seager who captures that world of opulence well.

    Paul Schrader shows a talent for glorifying the banalities in that rarefied world of politics and money.
  • I never understand why people who hate a movie, take the time to write paragraphs about it. Why not just let it go and try to find some film which they like and say something good about it? I'm an avid moviegoer and collector as I have some 30,000 titles in my library and I see hundreds of new films every year. "The Walker" didn't play in a theatre near me, so I had to wait for the DVD to be released. I enjoyed it so much, I had to sit through it a second time, immediately. It's so rare to find a movie written by an adult, for adults, with an all adult cast. It's been years since I've been so entertained as I was with the dialogue and the cast all in one movie. So often in IMDb, teens will review a movie which they would never understand even it they HAD been educated and write sordid remarks of how boring a movie is...or 'the worst movie I've ever seen...'. Too bad that the editors at IMDb can't cull out these remarks when all the teens are doing is destroying a work of art. I would bet none have ever been to a symphony concert, an opera, a ballet, a live drama, but they're quick on the draw when it comes to criticizing something without car chases or cheap gag lines.IF you are a person who likes GOOD movies, do yourself a favor and see "The Walker". It's Woody's best performance...and MAN! What a treat to see Lauren Bacall still strut her stuff. She may be an octogenarian, but she can STILL act. Lily Tomlin was equally as wonderful. I won't single out all the actors, just those three performances are enough to rent or buy the DVD.
  • This is a film suitable for art movie lovers as one has to watch this movie with an open mind; this film cannot be watched once, one as the viewer will be totally lost! The film had a stunning soundtrack with excellent choices of synths and melodies which create a slow but mysterious atmosphere which indicates to the viewer that it will take time for them to know what is going on. And there are suspenseful shots so well composed that it will make one jump out of their seat and will keep one in suspense. Together, with the choice of music and cinematography, this film creates a mysterious environment which has crime which can happen any time any place. And again, something for art movie fans.
  • This film is a cunning web of intrigue and subtle hints as to the next twist. It has a believable plot and a very believable cast.

    Woody "the third" must get an Oscar for this. He truly dominates every scene and never lets a deep south accent waiver at all. I think Woody comes from the gore background and enjoys getting in character and making his audience want. This is his pure character acting masterpiece.

    The flick is a pleasure to watch although "suffers" from clever dialogue and a slightly slow start. The title needs explained :- it doesn't spoil the film but makes it clearer. "The Walker" is a man who escorts important women from the administration.

    All in all, a gripping watch, if you survive the first 15 minutes you'll watch the end again!
  • This is a fascinating film which seems to be something other than what it is. It is absolutely not a thriller, although many people might be confused and believe it was meant to be one. In the film, a great deal of corruption, murder, and intrigue is portrayed at the top of the political hierarchy in Washington, D.C. But that is merely the setting and milieu for a wholly different story. The film is really about the true meaning of loyalty, and hence it is a disguised morality tale. The lead character, played by Woody Harrelson, is an elegant homosexual who escorts wives of leading politicians to social events, what is called 'a walker'. In the course of doing this, he accidentally becomes involved in a serious scandal involving murder and ruthless intrigue, which has no connection with him at all. The character whom Harrelson portrays is called Carter Page III, whose grandfather and father of the same name had been famous Washington politicians from the South. His father had been a 'hero of the Watergate hearings', and is clearly modelled on the late Senator Sam Ervin, Junior, of North Carolina. Page 'the Walker' thus has access to all the top social circles of Washington, but is looked upon with a certain amount of scorn because he is viewed as such a decline from the fame of his forebears. It is only as the film evolves that Page reluctantly reveals that in fact his father and grandfather had both been crooks, and were not heroes at all, and that he feels bad about his heritage, the endless praise for which he has to sit and listen to silently, while keeping his own views to himself. He is very camp and people don't really take him seriously as a person, considering him a hopeless lightweight. He even says of himself: 'I am superficial'. But this film is a study of what lies beneath the illusory surface of a supposedly superficial man. It is only in the last two minutes of the film that the full truth is revealed, and the film has its sad and pensive ending, where the meaning of the film really becomes clear. Harrelson depicts an unforgettable character, 'a man in full'. His Southern accent is as thick as heavy cream. He has to a certain extent modelled himself on Marlon Brando in 'Streetcar' and 'The Fugitive Kind', not always successfully, but it is a great effort and largely works, with the elegance, cufflinks, and finicky mannerisms of a dandy added very successfully on top. Paul Schrader's script is wonderfully subtle and well-crafted, but he is a much better writer than he is a director, and his shots are badly framed, which indicates that his cinematographer did not make up for his deficiencies at all. The sound is also inadequate, but then that is a common problem these days with Hollywood films, where all the good sound men seem to be dead. One problem with the direction is that Schrader was too close to the material. He could not stand back from it and see where a bit more clarity was needed for the sake of a possibly baffled viewer and instead he worked to increase rather than to diminish the sometimes excessive subtlety of this tale. In other words, it could and should have been a better film than it is. Harrelson needed a bit of toning down in some scenes. After all, he was way out on a limb in his performance, and although he didn't fall off a branch, he trembled amongst the leaves sometimes and could have done with some more help. Kristin Scott-Thomas's performance is impeccable, but when has one of her performances not been? Has anyone ever seen her do anything less than perfect on screen? I haven't. She isn't afraid to let herself look really terrible, haggard and wobbly in a harsh light if it helps the story. This film is about Harrelson showing the ultimate loyalty, the last man you would think capable of it, as an act of personal redemption. The end of the film is so perfectly performed and directed that one forgives the film any previous imperfections it may have had. It was worth waiting for. But what a sad and devastating realisation comes then, so impeccably presented. I cannot reveal what it is, but it is the whole point. The way Carter Page III comes out of it all as a hero reminds me of the husband in 'Brick Lane': sometimes the most unlikely people outshine everyone else in the most unexpected way when you see the true depths of their character. Schrader's perceptions in this story are immensely sensitive. This was an extraordinarily ambitious undertaking, and although the result is not perfect, so that the film is not a classic, Schrader and his actors all came close and can be justly proud of what they achieved. After all, it is not easy to make films about what is not spoken and what is not seen. Most people don't bother. So please keep it up, y'all.
  • Warning: Spoilers defines "walker" as "A man, asexual or homosexual, who can safely escort a woman, married or otherwise, to a social event, without hint of suspicion or relationship beyond friendship. A safe male companion." with the accompanying note: "Before becoming so waspish, Truman Capote was a reliable walker for Park Avenue society matrons." This film is a look at the life of such a man.

    Carter Page, III is a rich ne'er-do-well in Washington, D.C. who spends his time socializing with the wives of the Capital's elite. Carter's father was a powerful congressman for whom - even after his death - Carter harbors hate and resentment. Carter's father disliked and chided him for his sexuality and aimless existence. In DC society, Carter is reminded almost daily of his father's reputation as a respected congressman. His confidential reply to friends is that his father left congress many times richer than when he entered and honor had nothing to do with that reality.

    Carter has an on and off relationship with a struggling artist but is not willing to give up his glamorous life as a walker in order to commit to a long-term bond with the other man.

    One of the favors he performs for the wife of Larry Lockner, the minority leader of the Senate, is to drive her to assignations with her lobbyist lover. On one of these occasions, Lynn returns to the car in a state of shock having found her lover murdered. She begs Carter not to call the police and to drive her home. Carter does so and then returns to the apartment of the murdered man, calls the police, and says that it was he who discovered the body.

    Carter immediately falls under suspicion and spends the rest of the film in an attempt to unravel the truth of the murder. During that time, he is basically forsaken by all of his "friends" in the DC scene with his lover, Emek being his only true support.

    Twenty-eight years ago, Paul Schrader directed American Gigolo. This film calls up many of the elements of that earlier success. It is a beautifully worked tale of an outsider sought out by insiders who finds himself in a situation where support is needed but none comes from those who are able to exercise to greatest amount of power. We are privy to the private life of the man - one that he never exposes to the outside world. And we find that this man who is supposedly immoral - or, at least, amoral - is the most moral of them all.

    The Walker is filled with well-known stars starting with Woody Harrelson in the leading role. I was somewhat put off by his heavy Southern Virginia accent, but in retrospect, such an affected way of speech might be actually observed in such a man - think of Truman Capote. In any case, Harrelson gives a wonderfully restrained performance far different from most of his characters. He enables you to understand and care for Carter.

    Lauren Bacall is always a treat to watch, and she gives this film a wonderful Washington grande dame who is so wise to the ways of all yet not totally immune to the forces of the tides of opinion.

    Carter's friend, Lynn is played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and her character is probably the most complex in the film. She surely is an actress who can portray such a character with great insight.

    Add Lily Tomlin as another DC socialite, Ned Beatty as her powerful businessman husband, and Willem Dafoe as Lynn's ruthless politician husband and you can hardly go wrong with the spate of great performances.

    The Walker has numerous references to the evilness and deceit of the current administration but gives all politics, politicians, and their supporters their honest due. It entertains and causes you to think. For what more could you ask?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Yes,this is a delight. Paul Schrader directs an all name cast is one of the fastest moving films I have seen recently. Its 108 minutes breezes by. This is the way to do films of little consequence.

    This is not a great movie by any means, I was completely surprised at how much I enjoyed watching this.

    Woody Harrelson plays a paid escort & gets involved with a murder most foul.In watching him perform, I could not help think of another great actor,CLIFTON WEBB.

    In fact if Hollywood ever decides to make the Clifton Webb Story, Woody would be perfect in the role,

    Kristen Scott-Thomas has the major female role & is her usual fine self.

    Also in the cast is the magnificent LAUREN BACALL (83 or more years young),She was wonderful in her small role, so was Ned Beatty, Lily Tomlin, Wilhem Dafoe & a few other fine actors,.

    Rent this for pure enjoyment,.

    My rating may be a wee bit high, BUT I cannot honestly give it any lower. Outside of seeing a bloody corpse & 2 fights,I see no reason for the R rating.PG 13 would be proper.

    Ratings: ***1/2 (out of 4) 90 points (out of 100) IMDb 9 (out of 10)
  • Movie-Jay19 September 2007
    This is easily one of the best movies of the year. Woody Harrelson should pick up an Oscar nod for this role, which could play as a companion piece to Paul Schrader's earlier film "American Gigolo". Saw this at the Toronto Film Festival and observed that Schrader is an overlooked American heavyweight of the cinema, who still makes intelligent pictures for adults. The movie is suspenseful, but not because of artifice, because of the corner that the Woody Harrelson character finds himself in and how that triggers a stirring of is own moral code. I love that about this movie, how the plot is strong on it's own terms but that we get this added layer with the character study. It's a very timely movie too, what with the Senator Craig thing of this past summer, the movie is the only picture of our times to address the hypocrisy of the "Moral Values" brigade in Washington. First rate all the way.
  • This film is about a male escort getting involved in a murder investigation that happened in the circle of powerful men's wives.

    I thought "The Walker" would be thrilling and engaging, but I was so wrong. The pacing is painfully and excruciatingly slow, that even after 40 minutes of the film nothing happens much. Seriously, the first hour could be condensed into ten minutes. That's how slow it is.

    The fact that it lacks any thrills or action scenes aggravates the boredom. It's almost shocking that even argument scenes are so plain and devoid of emotion. Maybe it is because of the stiff upper lip of the higher social class?

    It's sad that "The Walker" becomes such a boring mess, despite such a strong cast. Blame it on the poor plot and even worse pacing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    After hearing about her for years,I have this year being pleased to finally see Kristin Scott Thomas (KST!) in the stylish Neo-Noir Love Crime and the earthy Drama Leaving.Shortly after watching Leaving,I was intrigued to find that the BBC were going to show one of KST's English language movies,which led to me walking on by.

    The plot:

    As a photo of his tobacco farming granddaddy hangs above him, Carter Page III finds the only way that he can get near the power player in Washington is to be an escort to their wives.One of Page's main clients is Lynn Lockner,who has been having an affair with lobbyist Robbie Kononsberg (who gave Page bad advice on the stock market.) Going to pay him a visit,Lockner finds Kononsberg murdered. As Page tries to help Lockner keep the affair hidden,he begins to walk out of step with the elite.

    View on the film:

    Continuing on the major theme of his work,the screenplay by writer/director Paul Schrader walks with a Neo-Noir of the outsider looking in. Surrounded by the elite, Schrader makes Page a loner whose every feature from his hair to psychological intimacy is part of a façade for the client. Finding Kononsberg dead, Schrader splinters the Neo-Noir with cynical political shots over what power players will do to keep their piece of the pie.Keeping Page as an outsider, Schrader aims for a cerebral Noir.Whilst this approach does lead to the viewer feeling as detached from the high-life as Page,it causes the title itself to be caved in a blank,strung-out atmosphere,where the murder charge and the characters themselves are emotionless and paper thin.

    Entering to the wonderful synch-Blues (!) score from Anne Dudley, Schrader and cinematographer Chris Seager swagger with a Neo-Noir style,lining Page's house in deep neon blue,and the crawling camera moves giving the film a dry Erotic Thriller mood.Burning up the riches of the elite, Schrader soaks the movie in a peculiar lime green that subtly expresses how rotten and mouldy the power they hold onto is. Refusing to do press for the flick due to hating his own performance, Woody Harrelson does lay on the Southern Charm a bit too thick,but does capture Page being a completely detached Noir loner on the scene.Adding a touch of Film Noir and Neo-Noir class, Lauren Bacall and Willem Dafoe give terrific, greasy performances as Natalie Van Miter and Larry Lockner,whilst the elegant KST smoothly threads the films cold pessimism with Lynn Lockner concern about becoming an outsider,as the walker walks away.
  • Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson), an openly gay escort who caters to Washington D.C.'s society ladies, becomes involved in a murder case as a suspect.

    Woody Harrelson was allegedly disappointed in his performance and therefore did not do any publicity. I can see that. While I think he did fine and the film as a whole is outstanding, the voice he uses never really seems to be spot-on with what you might expect from the character.

    Unfortunately, I am not able to give this film a proper review because I have not seen "American Gigolo". This was originally designed as a sequel but ended up being its own film. I still think it would be better to review this one after comparing them.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With The Walker, director Paul Schrader continues the the isolated man theme he's explored several times in the past with Taxi Driver, Hardcore, Raging Bull, American Gigolo, Light Sleeper, and even Affliction to some degree. Woody Harrelson is Carter Page, a walker for society women who must make public appearances without their spouses or with someone if they have no spouse. Harrelson has a stable of women he works with including the legendary Lauren Bacall, who is amusing indeed in a limited role, Lily Tomlin, and Kristen Scott-Thomas. Scott-Thomas is Harrelson's focal woman in the group and of Schrader's plot. She pays a visit to her lover with Harrelson in tow only to discover the lover murdered. Harrelson, of course, becomes the prime suspect. As Carter Page, he undergoes somewhat of a personality change as he is forced to shed the superficial airs he puts on for his society friends in favor of taking a more active role in the investigation that follows in order to simultaneously save his own skin and maintain his integrity with his society friends.

    Schrader has always had an ear for dialog and has drawn excellent characterizations, and the characters in The Walker are no exception. Woody Harrelson is quite different as Carter Page than most audience members are used to seeing him. The cinematography by Chris Seager is rich with detail and serves as a counterpart to the artificiality of Washington politics surrounding the goings-on in the film. In tact is Schrader's isolated man against himself, others, and society as in all of the previously aforementioned films. The film tends to drag just a tad but accelerates nicely after the murder. It's not one of Schrader's best, but average Schrader is still above average when compared to other filmmakers. Ned Beatty has a key small role as a politician, and Willem Dafoe, a Schrader favorite, also has a small role. *** of 4 stars.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A 'walker' is a man of some substance that 'walks' women of society that need to be seen with an escort. Carter Page III(Woody Harrelson)is such a man, a homosexual man, and popular socialite who serves as companion, confidant and canasta partner to numerous wives of some of the most powerful men in America. Carter, noble but also superficial, decides to cover-up a secret for one of his dearest friends Lynn Lockner(Kristin Scott Thomas), wife of a Senator(Willem Dafoe). Skirting the brink of a scandal, Carter finds himself a major suspect in a murder investigation. The once man-about-town has society doors closed in his face. It seems this fancy and pompous pseudo gigolo is looked upon as a criminal as he searches for the true culprit in order to clear his name. The well-acted cast also features: Lauren Bacall, Lily Tomlin, Ned Beatty, Geff Francis and Mary Beth Hurt. This is Harrelson as you've never seen him before. Woody is as solid as his name.
  • writers_reign16 August 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    I can't improve on Shakespeare (but then who can) in summarizing this entry; ... it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying ...Nothing. So who's the idiot here, certainly not Paul Schrader who is, ultimately, telling the tale albeit via his eponymous character Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson) who is arguably idiotic in permitting a superficial at best friendship with his 'walkee' Kristin Scott-Thomas to influence him to becoming involved in a murder inquiry/scandal. There is lots of sound, I mean Lots and a good deal of it is witty, barbed, caustic and civilized; as for the fury that comes not so much from Harrelson, who has every right to be furious, as from the chief investigator who despises Page and can barely contain his fury in interview situations. There is lots of sumptuous photography and although Carter Page is a bad second to Jay Gatsby in the clothes department he does boast a serious wardrobe plus accessories - cuff-links, etc - the acting is uniformly excellent but at the end of it all it is saying precisely zilch. I'm glad I saw it and I enjoyed it whilst I was watching it but that's about it and ultimately it's not quite enough.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie must be in line for the most boring movie in years. Not even woody Harrison can save this movie from sinking to the bottom.

    The murder in this movie are supposed to be the point of interest in this movie but is not, nothing is of any interest. The cast are not to bad but the script are just plain awful , I just sat in utter amazement during this movie, thinking how on earth can anyone find this movie entertaining

    The producers of this movie were very clever. They made a boring movie but hid it well with the names of good actors and actresses on their cast. People will go to the blockbuster and probably see this movie and think, Woody Harrison ,Kristin Scott Thomas and Willem Dafoe this must be good and rent this movie.(boy are they in for a horrible time)

    If you like getting ripped off go and rent this movie, some people actually did enjoyed this movie but I like to watch a movie with meaning
  • film_riot25 October 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Paul Schrader made a well staged thriller that lets the audience recognize a certain experience of its maker. Experience in this context isn't only meant positive. On the one hand it guarantees that "The Walker" doesn't end up as a total flop. Throughout the movie I felt there is a man behind the camera, that knows which buttons to push when, and there were some shots or short scenes I found really great. But on the other hand this routine makes the whole movie seem a bit dated. "The Walker" maybe would have had more relevance if made a few centuries earlier. But today a film that explicitly wants to be political but has nothing more to say than some often heard phrases or unmotivated side blows on targets like George Bush, where everybody will agree anyway, has to be considered a failure. What is just great about this movie, however, is Woody Harrelson. When he started talking I often thought I'm sitting in one of Schrader's great movies. "The Walker" is only okay.
  • hughman5527 May 2009
    This film is one giant pant load. Paul Schrader is utterly lost in his own bad screenplay. And his directing is about as comatose as it can be without his actually having been sleepwalking during the process.

    The worst though is Woody Harrelson, whom I ordinarily like when he's properly cast. He plays "the walker", a homosexual man in D.C. who plays social companion to the bored wives of the Washington elite. He couldn't have been more one dimensional if he had been cut out of a magazine and bounced around in front of the camera on a popsicle stick. His "southern accent" is that "off the rack" version that decrescendos from the beginning to the end of every line he delivers, as though the heat and humidity of the South is still draining him of every ounce of energy. It is monotonous. But, his is not the worst accent in the movie. His "boyfriend", played by Moritz Bleibtreau, attempts to affect some kind of a Mid East accent that is so clumsy he can barely deliver the bad lines written for him. He is incapable of rolling his r's in spite of the fact that in real life he is German, and speaks several languages - one of them being Italian! That's kind of a good reason to cast someone else don't ya think?

    From the story, to the screenplay, to the directing, to the camera work, to the performances by the leads, this movie is bad from beginning to end. The only tolerable moments in this film came from three supporting actresses: Lily Tomlin, Lauren Bacall, and Kristin Scott Thomas. Only these three managed to make it through this movie with their dignity in tact. In fact, all three are excellent, in spite of being trapped in a really bad film. Ufortunately, no one could ever be good enough to redeem this endless series of flaws. If you like these three actresses, watch them in something else. This movie is not worth your time.
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