In one phrase this whole film received a "uhhhhhhh.....that was ok" from me when it finished. Walker is a strange and odd film. Maybe when you read that last sentence you are expecting something really out there but Walker is not too extreme with it's oddness. Part of me wishes that it would go to the limit with it's strangeness rather than just sprinkling it here and there through out the film.
Walker is a "historical/biopic" about an eccentric man who became the dictator of Nicaragua in the 19th century. See, there is nothing strange there. Where it becomes strange is when Alex Cos decides to throw in modern innovations into the story. So, for example,. there are scenes of soldiers reading Time and People Magazine, shots of digital clocks, a car, and even a military helicopter. This is all meant to illustrate how we haven't learned from history and the story being told from the 19th century is the same story that is happening today, or in this case, during the 80s. You see...its very clever.
The problem is not the fact that Cox decides to make the film a satire or that he decides to throw in all of these things. The problem is that the film is not subtle with its clever ideas. They are so in your face that it comes off as being forced. It also doesn't help that he decides to actually make a biopic for 30 minutes and then throw in a shot of people reading Time magazine, and then come back to the biopic. What is meant to be clever and thought provoking becomes nothing more than just a distraction. After about the 3rd time it happens you just feel like saying "I get it already! Shit!"
Walker is far from a bad film. There is some greatness there but its overall ambition is what ultimately crushes whatever aspirations of greatness that it seems to have at times. It's an interesting film that is even more interesting due to Ed Harris delivering a great and fun performance but it never becomes more than just a "interesting film".
There are a couple of times during the film that I felt that it was at the point of achieving greatness but then it would become bland and predictable. This happened over and over again. It's far from a bad film but it also stays stuck within the blandness of it's genre, which is very disappointing.
The Ballad of Jack & Rose (2005, Rebecca Miller) - **1/2
This is another one that had a lot of potential but also fails to achieve an overall sense of itself. I'm not sure what exactly Rebecca Miller was going for since the film is trying to say something, but I just dont know what it is or if the film even said anything at all. It's really an assorted mess of top notch quality scenes mixed with pretentious and badly acted scenes surrounding these quality scenes.
Of course, there is no surprise that any moment of quality that the film has is due to Daniel Day-Lewis' perfect performance. This is a given but I have come to learn that what is more interesting than Day-Lewis' performances are the supporting performances around him. In this case the supporting performances from the cast, save for Keener, are absolutely destroyed by Day-Lewis. The weaknesses in the supporting performances are sadly noticeable too along with its sloppy writing and uneven direction.