Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty ★★★1/2

Image result for The Secret life of walter mitty title shot

    Sometimes in life it is inevitable that we become engrossed with our daily lives and routine occupations, never finding the time to involve ourselves with spontaneity or adventure. Walter Mitty is the personification of these values and this mundane life of his (which is often filled with spans of impractical delusions of grandeur) becomes the focal point of the 2013 film entitled "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."

    Walter is a reserved and rather diffident individual, who spends the majority of his hours in the darkness enshrouded basement of Life magazine headquarters. His responsibilities include prepping cover photos and being virtually nonexistent in the eyes of his peers. Additionally, Walter's love life is as desolate as the desert is dry, unless, of course, you find his hopeless crush on a female co-worker to be of any significance.

    However, as Life magazine prepares to make the transition into cyberspace, Walter's life is suddenly thrown into a tumultuous frenzy of exhilaration, as he finally sheds his tedious personality and becomes the man he has only dreamed of being in the past.

    This is a film that contains a heartwarming story and relatively silly sequences of fictitious events depicting Walter's daydreams. Ben Stiller, who makes this picture his fifth directorial venture, portrays this character with a sense of authenticity as he channels his inner awkwardness to fill the shoes of Walter Mitty. Stiller excels in both respects, providing us with a surprising yet appreciative display of cinematography and a memorable characterization of this reclusive and introverted individual.

    A conversion to an online format means Walter is in charge of the last cover photo of a tangible Life magazine. Sean O'Connell, a mysterious and brilliant photographer, has been one of the most integral contributors to the photojournalism department, thus cementing himself as the only logical choice for providing the cover of the final print issue aptly entitled "the quintessence of life."

    When the negative for this photograph appears to be missing, Walter finds himself on a manhunt to locate O'Connell and save his job; for, the online transformation may displace many in-house positions. Little does Walter know that this seemingly required action of traveling and go getting will become the single most important outing he has ever experienced and the defining moment of his life.

    The events that come to pass take us from the busy and crowded streets of inner city New York to the beautiful lush landscapes of Iceland, and, ultimately, to the breathtaking Himalayas where Walter not only finds the elusive photographer, but he realizes just how delicate and meaningful life can be. His voyage is filled with instances of humor, elation, and despair, which results in an enjoyable experience for anyone who needs to escape from the strains of reality.

    Sean Penn, a renowned actor with exceeding talent, steps into the role of Sean O'Connell. This performance is less than honorable, as Penn is limited in his time on screen and dialogue; consequently, becoming nothing more than a plot pusher. Nevertheless, an aging Penn is a delight to see, and he adds star power to a relatively unknown cast. Kristen Wiig, an up and coming actress in Hollywood, portrays the charming love interest of Walter.

    Cheryl Melhoff is a low-level employee at Life magazine and becomes attracted to Walter's quirky personality. Wiig provides our lead character with a romantically inclined release from his everyday anguishes and becomes his inspiration for adventure. Wiig's performance is quite noteworthy and provides one of the most engaging scenes of the film, as she sings her rendition of David Bowie's timeless "Space Oddity."

    "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is a successful and encouraging film simply because of its ability to explore the imagination--to divulge into the uncertain and give rise to hope. Although there are numerous scenes that warrant laughter, the tone of the film is solemn in its presentation, and it does not exert itself solely on comedic circumstances. Stiller has created a picture that showcases the triumph of living.

    Who is Walter Mitty? Essentially, he is concealed inside every one of us at one time or another. No matter where life's unexpected journey may take us, there is certainty in the fact that we will become submerged in the nuisances of everyday life. There will always be the need to break free and indulge in atypical events.

    I have previously asked my readers to enjoy the simplicity that this world offers. Too many times we are trapped inside our respective homes, transfixed by the technological hindrances that this twenty-first century imposes on our will. Too many times have I seen unfamiliar faces staring down at their smartphones when a magnificent sunset is just a head turn away. If there is one thing this film urgently suggests, it is the fact that life is short. In the iconic words of Ferris Bueller: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

1 comment:

  1. Walter Mitty is one of my favourite movies! While there is merit to some of the negative reviews, the way it represents and plays out the feelings we all have about life completely makes up for any of the movie's misgivings. I love this movie for inspiring my wanderlust.