Hey gang, Valkor here. 2015 looks to be the year that I’ll be adding more comedy films under my belt. And I couldn’t be more excited about that; if you’ve been following the pages of MediaView you’ll know the majority of films I've reviewed in the past have mainly been horror. I’ll definitely be dipping back into that department, but for now let’s take a look at "Walter" starring Andrew West, Virginia Madsen, William H. Macy and directed by Anna Mastro.
"Walter" puts the focus on a young ticket tearer and creature of habit named… well Walter (Andrew J. West), whom as a child, when his dad passed away, he believed he was given the gift of deciding where people should go when they die – either heaven or hell. This sort of divine gift works wonders at his present job at the movie theater, but it doesn’t do much in helping with his love life; Walt has a thing for a hotty named Kendall (Leven Rambin), but can never build up the confidence to talk to her or to form complete sentences when she's around. Walt’s world gets flipped, turned upside-down when a spirit named Gregory (Justin Kirk – Justice League: War) enters his life. Greg has been roaming the earth for ten years since his passing and hasn’t been able to crossover to any side. He happens to find Walt and now he wants him to decide where he should go – it really doesn’t matter to Greg at this point, which way he’ll go. Unfortunately for Greg, Walt is only capable of getting a “read” on the living. Things become even more complicated for Walt as it turns out that Greg’s arrival is closely linked to a past event dealing with his father just before his passing and how it all ties together.
William H. Macy makes a guest appearance as Dr. Corman, who Walt turns to, to help sort out his spirit situation and possibly to make Greg go away. The real question is: is Walt’s divine gift a true gift of god or something mental. And how does it all link with his past? You’re gonna have to watch to find out and it’s truly fascinating to see how it all pieces together and what becomes of Walt at the end.
"Walter" also features some pretty sweet cameos, most of which are definite favorites such as Peter Fancinelli (Loosies), who plays Jim, Walt’s Father. Then there’s Virginia Madsen (Sideways) as Walt’s mom Karen. Next is Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) as Walt’s coworker Vince. And finally there’s Neve Campbell (Scream) who play’s Allie, a key link to Walt’s past. But the big question is: how does a film, that takes “people watching” to a whole new level, fare?
"Walter" has a strong comedic opening, but midway and towards the end, things spiral towards the dramatic; ultimately the film deals with how one handles with the loss of someone important, how that person pushes through the grieving process and finally acceptance as well as forgiveness. As the film plays out, you witness the change in Walt’s life as he starts out as a clean cut, straight arrow to a chaotic mess. But through the madness he finds a comfortable place where he comes to accept his loss and the film ends just as I would have liked. Yea, "Walter" is an amazing piece of film that does a tremendous job of mixing comedic light with the dramatic dark. Walter was not just an entertaining piece but also an experience that’s a “can’t miss”. The acting all around is perfect and the bulk of which rests on the shoulders of Andrew West, who carries the weight beautifully; his transition his subtle but noticeable, which becomes highly visible (pale face, messed hair and all) towards the end. I gotta give a nod to Justin Kirk who was just fun to watch as Walt’s haunting spirit. Finally I gotta give a sexy nod to Virginia Madsen, whom I enjoyed in Sideways and indeed puts on a hell of performance here. Watching Walter was a trip to watch, but it’s a definitely a trip I’d take again and again.
I get the idea behind Walter’s “abilities”, whether he truly has them or not is up in the air, however I wish it was further explained. But I guess it’s what you take from it. I want to believe he has this ability where can control one’s afterlife fate, but I assume that would take the story in a whole other direction... maybe. But I think it would have been interesting. Next, I find the Gacy role to be somewhat moot; while his character does help bring Walt’s problems front and center, I felt it could have easily been dealt with on the same level with Greg.
Walter is making the indie festival rounds and expect a home release on April 21st. The film is one part comedy, one part drama but all things entertaining and truly an experience that’s a must see. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Walter a 4.