Monday 14 September 2015

A Walk In The Woods Review By Carleton Rutter

Directed by: Ken Kwapis
Starring: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Mary Steenburgen & Emma Thompson
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Strapline: "When you push yourself to the edge, the real fun begins"

So, in a nutshell?
After spending two decades in England, travel writer Bill Bryson returns to his native U.S. where he decides the best way to reconnect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail. But while he had hoped it to be a trek of relaxation and tranquillity, it becomes something entirely different when his philandering, former friend Stephen Katz joins him on the trip.

So, what are my thoughts?
Produced and starring Robert Redford, A Walk in the Woods sees the 79-year-old Hollywood legend return to the role of producer for the first time since The Company You Keep (2012). Released as a non-competitive film as part of Redford's own Sundance Film Festival back in January of this year, A Walk in the Woods garnered mixed reviews from critics present. 

I enjoyed A Walk in the Woods though, it's a very funny comedy with great chemistry between its main stars. Both Redford and Nolte both have genuine comic timing and work well off each other. There is a good upbeat vibe throughout with some really funny moments, so as a comedy it certainly succeeded. 

In support of Redford and Nolte is Emma Thompson as Redford's wife who is well Emma Thompson, flawless at all she does. Mary Steenburgen also features but I was a little disappointed by the size of her role, boiling down to at best an extended cameo as a Motel owner who puts up the intrepid explorers en route.

As I say the movie has an upbeat vibe as these grumpy old men make their way through the unforgiving Appalachian Trail. A high proportion of the jokes are aimed at old age and many if not all land well. Nolte especially shines as the bitter Katz, a little more no holds barred than his slightly more restrained companion.

Another star of the movie is the scenery itself, certainly greener than last nights movie (Everest) but a sight for sore eyes all the same. The movie although a comedy had a very similar feel to Wild earlier this year with Reese Witherspoon. Also I must make a mention of the movies soundtrack, it's great. Nice mix of songs.

The movie is not without its issues, like any movie. Given its source material, and the fact it tells the story of two retired men on a hike, the film has a fairly meandering pace. This is ok, but as a movie it lacks any edge to it, it's just a well acted gentle movie. Also Nick Nolte at times is quite hard to understand. 

I think it's fair to say that A Walk in the Woods will prove more popular with older audiences, due to the age of its main stars and the reason behind many of the jokes and set pieces.

My Rating 

A Walk in the Woods is an enjoyable backpacking comedy. Redford and Nolte have great chemistry and there are some genuinely funny moments. Furthermore the scenery is stunning and the movie features a great set of songs. There is also solid support from Thompson and Steenburgen. The movie though lacks teeth and is little more meandering that I would have liked, but you could certainly do a lot worse. This month. Take my advice and as the strapline says - "Take a hike".

A Walk In The Woods Review By Carleton Rutter