The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Short Stories and More…

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: A Review

Ben Stiller directs and stars in this beautifully shot film, which traces a daydreamer who is forced to trek through the wilderness to find that one perfect photograph (and the person who took it).

Walter Mitty is a character which everyone can relate to. He takes the ordinary, everyday situations and imagines how they could have gone. This is something I know I do all the time. People tell him he’s a daydreamer, but he’s just exploring the possibilities of what life might be.

Despite not being the biggest Ben Stiller fan, I thought his performance as Walter was brilliant. And the plot- well, here’s where I think it falls down. The cinematography was outstanding, full of nuances for film students to dissect and enjoy. However, pretty things to look at don’t make the film worth watching.

It’s entirely predictable: a daydreamer gets out and does real stuff. I found the premise flawed- the trek to find a photographer with one perfect photograph was a poor excuse despite having a jerk boss pressuring you to do so. What freelance photographer would be completely without any communication device anyway? And while I’m picking this apart, why does Mr Mitty have cell phone reception atop the Himalayas?

Two scenes in particular show that this could have been comedic: a scene parodying The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and a scene with a drunken helicopter pilot drinking from a tall, glass boot. However, they’ve chosen to go with an introspective drama which fails to have any substance. It didn’t even leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy after the film finished. I concede that this was probably because I was mentally tying up all the loose ends and counting off the narrative conventions that still needed closure…

The supporting cast were fantastic and can’t be faulted. Kristen Wiig as Cheryl is everything you’d want her to be. Shirley Maclaine shines in every role, this one is no exception (although her major plot point in on the edge of plausibility). Sean Penn’s small role is pivotal to the story and he plays this perfectly.

Something I didn’t know was that this film has been filmed before, in 1947 starring Danny Kaye. I believe that this earlier version is quite a bit different to the Ben Stiller version, and I’m interested in seeing it also (I love Danny Kaye).

Overall, it’s a lovely film but lacks anything cerebral.

6/10 popcorns.


December 30, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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