Walter (2015) (a film review by Mark R. Leeper).

In what is more an extended situation than an actual story, we meet Walter, a ticket-taker at the local multiplex who happens to be the Son of God. Not Jesus, but another son who has been given the responsibility to judge all people and for each decide if they are to be consigned to Heaven or Hell. Walter runs into problems when he is asked by one of the already dead to be judged for Heaven or Hell. While the story develops only very slowly we see several strange people in Walter’s life.

Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

Walter (played by Andrew J. West of ‘The Walking Dead’) is one of those people who rarely get noticed. He just is a very conscientious minor employee at the local movie theatre, always fastidiously dressed in a bright red vest. But what few people know is that as one of the sons of God he has been given the task of judging the people he comes in contact with. One look and he can decide either ‘Heaven’ or ‘Hell’. Walter does what he can to hide any personality he might have hiding behind his vest and following every rule of the management. We first see him waking up to three alarm clocks so he is triply sure to wake up on time.

Every morning, Walter’s mother (Virginia Madsen) has written a note saying his white shirt has been pressed and asking him how many eggs he wants for breakfast. She hovers over Walter, being smotheringly protective and determined to feed Walter eggs. She is just one of several weird people in Walter’s life including Dr. Corman (William H. Macy). Corman is a psychiatrist with rather unusual procedures. He seems to be doing very little for Walter. One hopes he can pull a person out of the repressed being that is Walter. New to Walter’s life is Greg (Justin Kirk), a ghost who needs a judgment (either up or down) from Walter before he can move on. Walter who usually decides eternal fates at a glance is surprisingly reticent to judge Greg.

Walter (2015) (a film review by Mark R. Leeper).
Walter (2015) (a film review by Mark R. Leeper).

There are some peculiar touches in the screenplay. The narrative seems to be shaped like a wagon wheel with Walter at the centre. Walter is rarely off-stage but is in nearly every scene of the film. With the exception of the staff of the multiplex, few people that Walter knows interact with each other. Walter just keeps having scenes one-on-one with the other people in his life.

One wonders a little at the premise of the film. How does Walter remember not to judge the same person twice? What happens to the billions of people with whom Walter never comes in contact? Who judges them? Why would Walter treat so important a task so randomly and callously? It calls up memories from the Nazi death camps of WWII. There is also some wit, very little that is laugh-out-loud funny but some nice little jabs. One is an image surely inspired by the film ‘American Beauty’.

The film was helmed by first-time director Anna Mastro from a script by Paul Shoulberg. In spite of a somewhat static plot, this film has ideas enough to keep the film intriguing. I rate ‘Walter’ high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10. ‘Walter’ will be released to VOD on 13March 2015 as well as playing on screens in New York and Los Angeles.

Mark R. Leeper

© Mark R. Leeper 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.