Walking Out - Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Apr 4, 2017
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    Walking Out


    Movie: :3.5stars:
    Video: :4.5stars:
    Audio: :4.5stars:
    Extras: :1.5stars:
    Final Score: :4stars:

    [​IMG] Movie
    Sibling brothers, Alex and Andrew Smith are back for their third feature film together, after getting back on the wagon Winter in the Blood back in 20123 (after an 11 year hiatus from their first film). The brothers have a fascination with making slow, methodical dramas that revolve around nature and the wilderness, but this time they decided to adapt the 1980 story of the same name from author David Quammen, which has been hailed as one of the best stories about the struggle to overcome nature in the last 40 years. I grew up reading Walking Out as a kid in the 90s, and was shocked to see that it was coming to film some months ago. I had never even heard any whispers that the project was underway, but I was pleasantly intrigued, being that the short story is a fantastic drama that really explores some of the intricacies of a father/son relationship, and is a thrilling tale of survival. Both directors also mention a similar experience in the extras, stating that they have wanted to make the movie ever since they read in back in 1988, and that it had been one of those lifelong dreams that was finally coming to fruition. While the movie is not as legendary as the written story was, the two brothers did an excellent job at bringing the hypnotic story to life, midst the standard pitfalls of bringing an introspective narrative that to life that really is mostly in the head of the main character.

    The film is really a 2 person drama, that focuses on 14 year old David (Josh Wiggins) and his father Cal (Matt Bomer) as they try and hunt a moose for David’s first big kill. While they don’t say outright, David is obviously the product of a divorced set of parents, living in the city and coming out to his father’s place for visitation purposes. David is your typical 14 year old boy, obsessed with his cell phone, and rather self centered and pouty to boot. Cal is a bit rough around the edges, and you can see why his mother may have had enough frustration to leave the rugged Paradise Valley and her even rougher husband behind. Grumbling and whining at his father’s attempts to go hunting, the two almost turn around until David realizes that this may be his own chance to get to know his dad. Heading off into the wilderness, the pair track a bull moose only to find more danger than they ever wanted in the form of a female grizzly bear and her wounded cubs.

    Instead of getting mauled by the bear, Cal suffers an accidental discharge at the hands of David, leaving the man severely wounded (a 30-30 rifle round will do that to a person), with only 14 year old David left to pull him to safety. They say that the change from boy t o man is nothing more than a few short moments where someone makes that decision, and this is David’s moment. Shedding aside his boyish hesitancy, David lifts his father onto his back and forces himself to walk, step by step, back down the mountain to safety.
    Alex and Andrew Smith keep the slow and methodical narrative of the original story perfectly intact, allowing us to watch as the two males butt heads time and time again for the first half of the film. Each one trying to get to know the other, but somehow missing the mark entirely with their own personality traits getting in the way. David desperately wants to know his dad, although it is hidden under resentment and insolence, while Cal’s rough exterior belies the fact that he so very much wants his son to know who he is. The back and forth play between them is subtle, but heart breaking to watch considering how many parents suffer the same missteps with their children. It’s not until the mid point of the movie that the film changes tone, and once that infamous accident occurs, the reality of the situation makes their stumbling around a moot point.

    As with most films that require minimal actors, and a lot of dialog, the brunt of the heavy lifting is on the two people on screen. There’s no flashy effects, and no heavy action (though that 10 minutes where the pair run across the bear is pretty intense), so the two men have to make up all of the attention grabbing moments. Luckily Josh and Matt do a great job with their respective personas, and the two director’s have an incredible knack for capturing the beauty of their environment in each and every shot. The classic survival story is pertinent and powerful, but the lack of tension makes one feel as if they took the book a bit TOO literally, even though the two mediums require a little fine tuning to appeal to their respective audiences.


    Rated PG-13 for bloody injury images, some thematic elements and brief strong language

    Video: :4.5stars:
    The digital film is a treat on Blu-ray, with Shout Factory giving us a nearly flawless home video rendition to enjoy. Shot on location down in Paradise Valley, Walking Out is filled with luscious snow covered shots that enjoys a nice pale blue color grading. The blue contrasts the white snow impeccably, and faces are given a naturally ruddy complexion with pinpoint precision clarity to boot. The only times that the movie shifts away from razor sharp clarity is when we see the flashbacks in Cal’s heads where he is dealing with his own father (played by Bill Pullman), which employs a yellow hue as well as a rather noisy look to imitate the perception of faded and old memory. Blacks are deep and inky, without any sign of banding or crush at all, rendering this disc a visual joy to watch.

    Audio: :4.5stars:
    [​IMG] Just as stunning is the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that Shout Factory has given us (along with a 2.0 DTS-HD MA track in English as well). The film is sonicaly robust and vibrant, but in a more subtle way than your standard film. The ambiance and feeling of the movie is what pushes the track to its peaks, and that is mostly sitting back and listening to the little sounds, such as the crunching of footsteps in the deep snow, or the rustling of bird feathers as grouse flap their wings trying to get away from the hunter’s shotgun. Dialog is perfectly placed in the center channel, and evenly balanced with the immersive surround usage. LFE is clean and hefty, but relegated to the more intense moments of the film (which doesn’t give it a whole lot of air time).

    Extras: :1.5stars:

    • Behind-the-Scenes Footage
    • Theatrical Trailer

    Final Score: :4stars:

    Walking Out is not a perfect drama, but it is a well acted film that takes some time to get going. Once it does, watching the changes that happens to young David is well done and really impactful when you get to the inevitable twist at the end. The gorgeous cinematography is almost enough to captivate you from beginning to end, but the two leads do a good job at creating the heart warming tug that allows the audience to really become invested in their plight. Shout Factory’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds AMAZING, but sadly there is almost no extras (something which is unusual for Shout Factory). Definitely worth a good watch.

    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Matt Bomer, Bill Pullman, Josh Wiggins
    Directed by: Alex Smith, Andrew J. Smith
    Written by: Alex Smith (Screenplay), David Quammen (Shorty story by)
    Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
    Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0
    Subtitles: English
    Studio: Shout Factory
    Rated: NR
    Runtime: 97 Minutes
    Blu-ray Release Date: February 6th, 2018

    Recommendation: Good Watch

    #1 Michael Scott, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
    tripplej likes this.
  2. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

    Jul 13, 2017
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    Thanks for the review. Never heard of this one but after reading the review, I am interested. Will check it out.
    Michael Scott likes this.
  3. Asere

    Asere AV Addict

    Apr 14, 2017
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    I too will check it out. Thank you for the review.
    Michael Scott likes this.

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