Walking OutSundance London 2017
Superb cinematography introduces Alex Smith’s Walking Out with gorgeous, evocative shots of snow-capped mountains to a soundtrack of classical cello, creating a soulful, romantic mood.
A teenage boy with a slightly bewildered air, David (Josh Wiggins) emerges from a plane to meet his dad, Cal (Matt Bomer), in a wild and remote Montana setting. His father – clearly missing his estranged wife – has put all his passion into hunting, having become a lonely mountain man, while the boy is a typical teen from Texas. The two are at first awkward together; Cal wants his son to hunt and kill and David is reluctant, but eventually agrees because he wants to please him.
The film takes a poetic approach to the hunter’s life; Cal only hunts for food, he never kills for the sake of it, and despises those who do. He obviously has love and respect for wild animals, and as his own father (Bill Pullman) had once stated, “When an animal looks you in the eye you don’t kill it”. When the teenager wants to shoot an old grizzly bear that walks dangerously close to them, Cal responds: “No that’s not hunting for the meat that’s hunting for the fear”. David wonders why his dad does not have a dog to help him pursue game – “I don’t want to give that much love to something that’s going to die in 12 years.” The movie abruptly turns to horror when David is severely bitten by a bear and then accidentally shoots his father, after which his only choice is to carry him on his back for many gruelling miles.
With excellent acting this deeply moving father/son story is about that bond and the wish of a father to be understood by his child. “Someday you’ll have a son, and you’ll want so badly for him to know who you are.” An engrossing, heartbreaking tale of bonding, transformation, survival and tragedy, the message of Walking Out seems to be that for love we have more strength than we know and can achieve the impossible.
Walking Out does not have a UK release date yet.
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