AN EMPIRE OF WORDS

 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2014)

2 Comments

I was unbelievably gutted to not catch this film in the cinema’s because I’m a big fan of Ben Stiller and him directing this made me want to see this more. I managed to get a viewing since on DVD and this is a direct cause and effect of me being gutted about it.

Ben Stiller’s past previous directed works are anything to go off, it would expected that this film involves comedy with the likes of Zoolander and Tropic Thunder. However, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty includes comedy, but personally, I would say that comedy isn’t the basis of the film. After an initial screening, I couldn’t wait to re-watch the film many times over, the enjoyment factor from me was that huge.

  
Walter Mitty (Stiller) is the most sympathetic character of Ben Stiller’s repertoire as the essence of the story is epitomised by his constant battle of thoughts with himself, illustrated by his sprint to the helicopter. Mitty carries the socially inept persona as the negative asset manager for LIFE magazine. Opening scenes feature the LIFE employee being very neat, organised but alone looking for love using eHarmony.com. (He tries to leave a ‘wink’ for his coworker, Cheryl Melhoff, but alas cannot).

Walter then eventually nurtures his sense of wanderlust when negative 25 goes missing leaving Walter to track down the photographer, the famous Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). The negative in question causes a stir because O’Connell believes it captures the “quintessence of life”.

This all occurs amidst the downsizing of LIFE and the company making adjustments so the company can leap into the digital age. Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott), the transition manager, goads Walter into going on the adventure of a lifetime, as he continually intimidates Walter to the delight of his colleagues.

  
The big surprise was the use of special effects that previously does not occur in Ben Stiller’s previous films (Discounting Night at the Museum series and The Watch of course). This is experienced from the get go, as Walter Mitty saves a dog from a building blowing up and designing a prosthetic leg for the dog, whilst following his ABC’s (Adventurous, Brave and Creative –  A snippet on Cheryl’s eHarmony site). Of course this is a daydream and far from the reality that Walter Mitty actually lives in.

After featuring these excellent special effects, Stiller even rounds it off with beautiful backdrops of New York, Greenland and Afghanistan Himalayas. Over the course of around 114 minutes, time just melts away, giving the pacing of the film a fantastic feel making The Secret Life of Walter Mitty an incredibly easy watch.

  
This film hit all the right notes in that sense, with the right amount of comedy coupled with the right amount of action and adventure and to my delight the soundtrack features some incredibly easy-listening modern music like Of Monsters and Men a Kristen Wiig rendition of Space Oddity and Arcade Fire. That being said, sometimes this overpowers the motion picture, but the soundtrack is played in the right moments and fits perfectly in the film.

My enjoyment factor just kept soaring when watching this film, which only left me more and more devastated about not managing to watch this on the silver screen. Of course, the story is naturally foreseeable, but the character change from Walter is great and really interesting to watch develop on screen.

I would throughly recommend this film for, as I mentioned, it hit all the right notes for me and thought it to be a fantastically easy watching film with beautiful backdrops, placed with an excellent soundtrack as the cherry on top.

 

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Author: Nathan Harris

Currently studying Film & Television studies and Media Writing at Derby University. Hopefully wanting to become a film critic/journalist.

2 thoughts on “ The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2014)

  1. I think what made this film so great was its ability to capture various aspects of ordinary human life – loneliness, familial love, etc. Walter was normal even though he set out on this great big adventure that is not likely to happen in real life. Loved the movie. Great review.

    • Thanks for the lovely comment Josie. Completely agree. Ben Stiller did a great job of capturing all these emotions throughout the film, but also in different characters and cultures that are seen explored throughout the film.
      I always love to rewatch this film because it’s such a treasure and it’s so easy to become immersed in the characters and melt away.

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