The Walker * *

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Director: Paul Schrader.
Screenplay: Paul Schrader.
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Lauren Bacall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily Tomlin, Willem Dafoe, Mary Beth Hurt, Ned Beatty, Moritz Bliebtreu, William Hope, Steven Hartley.

The last time writer/director Paul Schrader delved into the seedy world of male escorts was in 1980 with “American Gigolo”. That film gained notoriety, not for it’s quality or exemplary filmmaking but for being the first time on screen that there was full frontal male nudity in a mainstream film. Thankfully we are spared such indescretion this time, but it still doesn’t save the film.

Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson) is an escort for some of Washington, D.C.’s finest society women. He accompanies them to several high-class events whenever they are in need of male company. When the husband of one of his lady friends appears murdered, Carter gets caught up in a scandal-tinged murder mystery.

Paul Schrader is normally quite reliable but I wish I had remembered that the aforementioned “American Gigolo” was a stinker before I’d sat down to this equally poor retread and saved myself the time. And quite a bit of time that would have been. It would have amounted to 1hour 47mins, which going by the pace of this film, would have seemed as if I’d saved more. By god this film takes a long time going nowhere. Harrelson puts in a decent attempt as the gay socialite with southern drawl but ultimately he’s miscast. He maintains your interest for a short time and from the beginning the film looks very promising. However, it soon becomes very dull, very quickly, and there’s nothing Harrelson or the impressive supporting cast of fabulous actresses can do about it.

Murder mysteries normally have anticipation, suspense, and intrigue. This has neither, and going by the mis-judged tempo of the film, “The Crawler” would have been a better choice of title.

Mark Walker

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