The Walker (R)

Drama 108 December 7, 2007
By J.hoberman
Paul Schrader's cinema is largely defined by the pathology of his male protagonists, and with The Walker, he has added a striking new character to his gallery of loners. Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson) is the degenerate scion of a political family. Openly gay and eminently presentable, this American aristo makes himself useful as a companion to the neglected wives of the Washington elite — gabbing over canasta or escorting them to the opera (hence the term walker, coined to describe Nancy Reagan's frequent squire, Jerry Zipkin). Filmed quite credibly in London, The Walker evokes a town of mighty rubes and backbiting yentas. Carter, however, has a special fondness for the vulnerable Lynn (Kristin Scott Thomas), a sad-eyed lady of the lowlands unhappily married to liberal senator Larry Lockner (Willem Dafoe, with a Gary Hart 'do). Once Lynn discovers her lobbyist lover stabbed to death and gallant Carter puts down his copy of Suetonius to shield her, The Walker settles into thriller mode. But in its final third, it falls apart. Emotional murk rises, stakes are lowered, and, despite a late dose of Hardy Boys derring-do, drama founders. This is a serious movie and, gliding around the center of power, a stylish one. But, like its protagonist, The Walker is unable to finish the job.
Paul Schrader Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Ned Beatty, Moritz Bleibtreu, Mary Beth Hurt, Lily Tomlin, Willem Dafoe, William Hope, Geff Francis Paul Schrader Deepak Nayar ThinkFilm