Friday, December 27, 2013

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty Is Exactly What It Wants To Be

I really did enjoy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
This is a film about learning how to live life. And it executes its purpose with crisp, well polished resolve. Certainly the majority of characters only served as necessary plot keys, but as I've said before I don't consider that a problem. Some concepts call for single-note characters. These people help to explain what Walter's world is like. If he has an overactive imagination and sees everyone else as one thing... well we see the world as he sees it. That's the movie. To me all of that works.
Ben Stiller, in my mind, has made some impeccable decisions as director. It feels clear from the outset that he knew exactly what he wanted. The dream sequences are quite enjoyable, but really work best in tandem with the real world that Walter is forced to discover... and the more he discovers, the less he has to dream. A pretty fitting build for a film about reaffirming existence.
Sure, Kristen Wiig and Adam Scott felt a little underutilized... and perhaps flat. But pretty much everybody else really seemed to get it. Patton Oswalt is nothing but fun in a practically voice-exclusive role. Shirley MacLaine was so warm and believable as Walter's mother. Ólafur Darri Ólafsson got my attention with very limited screen time... somehow he managed to color his character so perfectly. And Sean Penn just thrives in this kind of role. I think I like him better in these smaller parts.
Perhaps it was only made for a specific kind of person... but to me, Walter Mitty was a pleasure to watch. It set out to give one simple message. And in the end, it delivered.

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