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Review: Walking Out (Sundance) starring Matt Bomer

Walking Out (Sundance) starring Matt Bomer
01.27.2017
8 10

PLOT: A fourteen-year-old city boy (Josh Wiggins) is forced to step-up in a big way after his hunter father (Matt Bomer) is badly wounded on a winter hunt, stranding the two of them deep in the wilderness.

REVIEW: Hunting gets a bad rap. When we think of it, we tend to imagine middle-aged one percenters posing for photos with the corpses of animals bagged for little more than a trophy. But, there’s another kind of hunter, one who hunts responsibly and for food - something not all that morally different from buying meat in the supermarket, they just do the dirty work themselves. That’s the kind of hunter WALKING OUT concerns itself with, and the resulting film is a compelling father-son survival drama that takes its time to tell a well-conceived story free of stereotypes.

josh wiggins matt bomer walking out

Matt Bomer is cast against-type as the lead. A middle-aged hunter living in isolation off-the-grid, he hopes this winter hunting trip will allow him to reconnect with his fourteen-year-old son. The son, played by MAX’s Josh Wiggins, isn’t your typical movie teenager. While obsessed with his iPhone, he’s also doing his best to reconnect with his father, despite not being able to understand the appeal of killing an animal.

As the two make their way into the wilderness, they begin to connect, with Wiggins especially learning to respect his dad, who shows horror at the corpse of a moose that was killed for sport. To him, hunting is an art - with the purpose being to minimize the animals suffering and to only kill what you intend to eat. We get periodic flashbacks to a similar trip he took with his father (Bill Pullman - very effective), who, when faced with trophy killing, told his son “that’s not hunting, that’s killing.”

Alex and Andrew J, Smith’s movie takes its time getting to the main conflict, which has Bomer get shot in the leg, forcing his son to carry him out of the wilderness on a multi-day trek, all the while faced with the prospect of an angry bear, whose cubs have been killed. It doesn’t go down the way you’d think, with the relationship being more key than the survival, and the resolution is far from typical for the genre.

matt bomer josh wiggins walking out

For ninety percent of the running time, Bomer and Wiggins are the only actors on-screen, and it’s their believable chemistry as father-and-son that carries the film. While Bomer seems a little young and fresh-faced to play a weathered hunter, he still sinks his teeth into the part and becomes surprisingly believable. Wiggins is terrific as his quiet, often contemplative son, and as an audience, you invest in their survival.

The film is also beautifully shot against the gorgeous Montana backdrop, making the wilderness seem both beautiful but also deadly to those unprepared to deal with its unpredictability. While maybe too low-key to ever connect in a major way, WALKING OUT is a solid gem that allows Bomer to branch-out and should please those looking for a more human adventure tale. It’s a good father-son story, and one worth seeking out.

Source: JoBlo.com

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