Walking the Walk
by Jordan Corson
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The big question about the film Walking the Walk is does writer director Troy Evans actually walk the walk? There is no doubt that Evans succeeds in taking his ambition of making a film for (around) seven thousand dollars. Yet, is he successful as a filmmaker who sets out to make a film about the passion of filmmaking in a consistent, self-reflexive, and engaging manner? After viewing Walking the Walk in its entirety the answer is a resounding, “um, somewhat.”
As we follow Evans (Jeff Schubert), the thirty something single father and aspiring filmmaker we are consistently aware of the concept of this film. While the gimmick is persistent, however, Walk is never gimmicky. We are never entirely sure what world the film inhabits. At points there are jokes about this being a film within a film within a film. Still, other points employ jokes that never reach the self-conscious level, but clue the viewer into the fact that this is not an everyday situation or an everyday world.
At a very specific point, around when the characters start to really delve into making their seven thousand dollar film, all the jokes in the film suddenly feel repetitious. Though it never loses sight of the plot, Walking the Walk begins to meander around and a great deal of momentum is lost at this point. Luckily, once the characters invest in the film (the one they are making as well as the one we are watching) more fully, we begin to understand each and their relationship to each other. The jokes seem to fade out and suddenly this is a decent film in a whole new sense. The characters now depict a world where they struggle to achieve grand dreams in a pretty sincere way.
The film shows us this well via mostly out of work actors portraying themselves, which leads to competent performances from the cast (aside from the rare instances when they’re asked to stretch even a miniscule amount). But here the film also falters. Our main investment emotionally and intellectually is in Evans. Despite seeing all the difficulty of life in arts and generally the difficulty of fulfilling a lifelong dream, we never feel the passion of doing these things. For a film about trying to make a film for so cheap, to which Evans/Schubert sacrifices his dignity (in the scene with his parents), his blood (in the blood oath scene), and many scenes with tears, I never felt what I wanted to for him—that is to say I never felt a deep emotional connection to any characters struggle.
So while it’s funny and you appreciate the insight and I did honestly care whether or not they made their movie, the film left me wanting much much more from the people involved in making it. In the end I felt that Walking the Walk is the kind of movie I really want to support, much more than some big expensive Hollywood film. When it comes down to it though, I’d rather be watching a sellout Hollywood equivalent.
Jordan Corson is a film critic living in Chicago.
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