The Secret Life of Walter Mitty review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
Ben Stiller has been responsible for some outrageous comedy films, not only in front of the camera but behind it as well with Tropic Thunder being one of his best. Stiller however took a different approach to his latest feature, the sombre character piece, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a rehash of an old tale but with a understandably relevant new twist.
The film tells the story of Walter (Stiller), a quiet man who is constantly in his own head. His frequent daydreams don’t bother many people as he hides away in his small office and dreams of adventures. When one finally comes his way he is hesitant to reach out and grab it but with a push from his family and co worker Cheryl (Kristen Wiig) he might just find the courage he needs to push off to something unbelievable.
This is Stiller’s best film in quite some time and easily his most mature work to date, a tale of taking on the unknown and fighting your fears, something Stiller cleverly mixes in with a tale of redundancy. The way Stiller mixes the real and the extraordinary using some dynamic and wonderfully luscious visuals is remarkable. The choice of filming locations add to the experience with Stiller using Icelandic landscapes to depict a sense of adventure and wonder.
However the film is really about Walter, a man who some might be quick to label a geek, a nobody. Stiller however knows better, Walter may be dependable, a steady worker but he is also a rebel and an athlete, a man of hidden talents and unparalleled kindness, a worthy subject that comes to life the more the film peels away at his shutdown persona. Watching him come back to life is special.
The film isn’t perfect, the film shoehorns in a cliched villain, a man restructuring Walter’s office, a man so self involved its hard to imagine him existing outside of this film. Beyond that though The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is unlike its original and I for one am glad because the advances in modern cinema have ensured Stiller was able to make a breathtaking picture