DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Monday, September 21, 2015

Darkmatters Review: A Walk In The Woods

A Walk In The Woods (15)

Dir. Ken Kwapis

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of Matt's review: The Tring Gazette

“Writers don't retire. We either drink ourselves to death or blow our brains out.”

Not just writers but also possible viewers of turgid films too... If you go down to the cinematic woods today, you’ll potentially be in for a new ‘comedy’ adventure based on celebrated travel writer Bill Bryson’s much loved book. A Walk in the Woods is the account of how Bryson (played by Robert Redford), challenged himself to hike the ‘Appalachian Trail’ which is over 2,000 miles of America's most unspoiled countryside from Georgia to Maine.

"I can pass for 44 right?"

I have to admit to not reading the book so can only take the film at on it’s merits and this was without doubt one of the most disappointing cinema experiences of the year.

Joining Bryson on his – was going to say midlife crisis walk as he was 44 when attempting this but as Redford is 79 is changes the dynamic somewhat – is his degenerate pal Steven Katz (Nick Nolte, 74). And whilst Redford might not be the dynamic, charismatic twinkle eyed smoothy he once was, Nolte is walking nightmare, bumbling about dropping F words and generally looking so out of shape that you fear this could turn into a snuff movie at any moment.

"remind me what I'm doing here again?"

It’s like seeing punch drunk former world champions suffering in the ring when it would have been a much more compelling movie (my lovely wife pointed out) if they had cast actors nearer the age of the characters in the book, maybe I’d pick Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper? Star of this show is Emma Thompson who is only on screen for about 8 minutes as Bryson’s left at home wife.

So it’s poor stilted dialogue and unfunny writing every step of the way – with a pervasive ‘haven’t I seen this before’ kind of déjà vu feel. Very few tired clichés are left unused and director Kwapis even manages to alienate the nature fans in the audience by limiting the incredible shots of the actual forest trail and focussing on the conversations and ‘antics’ of the two leads at the many hotels, cafes and erm, laundry breaks.

"most annoying walker ever?"

Redford and Nolte have both been undoubtedly great actors in their time but this feels like an indulgent quick paycheque of a movie for each of them. Ironically the theme of regrets in later life is brought very much front and centre when you consider that this ‘walk’ eats up almost two hours of your life that you are not going to get back.

Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(1.5 - Nolte, Nolte, very very Nolte...

Awesomeness öö – "just a walk in the 'Appalachian' Park Kazansky"

Laughs öö – awkward rather than funny

Horror ö – no pensioners were harmed in the making of this movie (alas)

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - not quite there and back again

Recommended Hashtags: #Hobbled

LINKAGE: A Walk In The Woods

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