- Colin Fraser
THREE AND A HALF STARS A teenage boy and his father go hunting in Montana, with tragic results.
Matt Bomer, Bill Pullman
No wonder we town-folk aren’t too excited about walking deep into the great outdoors. There are hundreds of Hollywood films telling you it’s a bad idea, and WALKING OUT is no different. When father and son go on a bonding / hunting trip far beyond civilisation in the wintery wilds of Montana, you know it’s going to end badly (just how badly is the film’s surprise). It shouldn’t, of course. Son may be a city-dwelling teenager who has flown in for the weekend, but Dad is a local, experienced mountain man. Yet nature has a way of disarming the most prepared, and when a bear comes calling, their best laid plans are soon undone.
The anxiety their snow-capped,hunting trip induces in the viewer is just framework, this is really a story about inter-generational culture, handed down from father to son. Based on a short-story by David Quammen, this is elegant film and one that makes the very most of its stunning location. MAGIC MIKE’s Matt Bomer is well supported by relative newcomer Josh Wiggins with Bill Pullman in flashback as the boy’s grandfather.
Although the narrative would benefit from another string, there’s not quite enough going on here to fully support the 90 minute run time, the film manages to engage most of the way to a touching end. Above all, and with plot-driven anxiety to one side, it’s rewarding to see a story about men being men that doesn’t turn to aggressive chest-beating, despite the narrative backbone of guns and hunting (albeit an eco-friendly version, honest). WALKING OUT is about what it takes to be an honourable person, and it does so thoughtfully and effectively. Even better, we town-folk can learn that lesson without having to do battle with bears in Montana.