by Kushal Joshi.
For a remake to be different, but still the same, and yet better, requires some finesse. Stiller appears to have successfully developed this delicate touch during his years of acting and directing.
For me The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is his best creation to date. No buffoonery or (a regular in some of his other work) breaking of the contract with the audience; no industry ‘in’ jokes or references to unnecessary out-of-the-movie contexts for the sake of punchlines. This is a real movie. I would go a step further an say that this is a professional movie - Stiller takes us by the hand and lightly steers us through a water-colour milieu that could be any one of a thousand workplaces in the current economy. Mitty’s workplace is being taken over, hit by disruptive technology, and most of the staff will be fired, despite having dedicated decades to their employer.
Stiller builds on the subtext that Walter is more a conduit for all of us than an individual. Mitty's journey thus becomes a mirror for all our inadequacies and regrets, but also dreams and aspirations. The threads that draw Mitty into our hearts are not due to him having these fears and hopes but in how he demonstrates their extent, again reflecting our deepest passions and our strength of resolve in moments of alacrity.
Technically, the picture was a Sony 4K production and is worth a viewing for a demonstration of the gorgeous panoramas that 4K cameras can produce. Cinematographers will certainly enjoy the effort and consideration of lens use alone. The movie may be slightly stretched out compared to the 'MTV-edited' generation of movies we are still recovering from. It’s personal choice but the slower beat of this film was fine for me (I’m an Eighties kid). At times scenes could have benefitted from cleaner editing and certain story points felt belaboured (I guess the producers were considering certain audience's spoon-feeding requirements). These niggles aside, it was a great movie experience.
This is not a love story, although there is one. It is not an adventure story, although there is adventure. It is not an action film, although is some action. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a perfectly timed moment of reflection for the end of the year before we start anew. Finish a glass of your preferred beverage before you go and enjoy this touching, relaxing, family-oriented fable that will make a pleasurable holiday treat.
General Release : From Boxing Day, 2013 (26/12/2013)