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Thursday, March 12, 2015

'Walter' Theatrical & VOD: Quirky Indie Dramedy About Lobby Theater Purgatory

'Walter' Review: Indie Puts Final Judgment

The image above for the eOne Films production "Walter," which is being theatrically released in New York City and Los Angeles and Paramount California (as well as VOD providers) on March 13 2015 clearly shows the influence of fellow indie film "American Beauty" on film director Anna Mastro. Mastro shows equally good instincts throughout this charming and amusing first effort at directing a feature film.

The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer for "Walter" awesomely communicates the indie but highly accessible tone of the film while concisely describing its theme. You also get a good look at the cast of cult favorites, which includes early 2000s bad boy Milo Ventimiglia as a hilarious workplace bully.

The titular quirky emo damaged 20-something is a highly regimented "failure to launch" guy who lives with widowed mother Karen (played by Virginia Madsen) and works at the local movie house in his suburban community. The aforementioned quirk is that our hero believes that he is the son of God (but clarifies that he is not Jesus, a.k.a. "the guy with the beard") and that his role in the universe is determining who will go to Heaven and who will go to Hell when his or her time comes.

This rush to judgment sets the stage for several funny scenes in which Walter glances at people and simply declares "Heaven" or "Hell" while going about his daily business. The catalyst for the main action in the film comes in the form of Greg the ghost (played by quirky actor Justin Kirk), who asserts that he has been wandering the earth since dying 10 years early. The reason that this unfriendly ghost seeks out Walter is that the former wants to the latter to literally tell him where to go so that he can end his torment on earth.

The mutual frustration (i.e., central conflict) relates to Walter telling his new companion that his ability only works on people who still have a pulse. This prompts Greg to pledge to haunt Walter until the latter makes the requested eternal judgment call.

The angst that Greg is causing Walter prompts God's other son to seek counsel from Dr. Corman; scene-stealer William H. Macy wonderfully portrays the comically caustic Corman to the extent that he has some of the best lines in the film.

The arrival of Greg has a more positive influence on Walter in the form of prompting positive introspection that makes both Walter and most of the people in his life happier. Seeing Walter 2.0 emerge is awesome.

The nice pacing of reveals regarding both elements of the relationship between Walter and Greg and the events that made The Popcorn Kid the man that he is today contribute quality substance to this enjoyable film that will make you smile and occasionally laugh. Having a little something about which to think is a good bonus.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Walter" is welcome to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

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