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Carter Page III holds a special place in Washington society: the gay son and grandson of powerful men, he has connections, manners, and he's no threat, so he's an available escort when a woman's husband would rather not accompany her to a public event. When the secret lover of one of his women friends is murdered, she asks Carter to cover for her, and his acquiescence gets him into immediate trouble with the police and an ambitious prosecutor. Carter, with the help of his lover Emek, starts his own investigation. They're warned off by someone's hired muscle. Can Carter figure out what happened or will he lose more than he realizes he has? Human behavior is a mystery. Written by
Harrelson is Carter Page III. Unfortunate son of a great man, fortunate son of a dynasty of plantation owners; what does he do? He spends a day a week as a real estate agent and fails to chase up a gallery opening for his lover's photography. What he really does is move with grace through the social circles of the Washington wives. All is well, passing off lines of Tennessee Williams and playing canasta, until by chance he is dragged into a murder investigation. Forced, in his own words, into a choice between "being disloyal and being dishonest" the film follows Carter's progress as events take him into murkier waters where it is no longer enough just to smile at the chaos and hope that it will pass.
In Schrader's script the dialogue crackles, for the most part, and the narrative is traced out with skill. The film does not aspire to the pace of a thriller but achieves a constant tension. Harrelson's performance is magnificent and he is ably supported by Bacall, Scott-Thomas and a sphinx like Geff Francis as the detective on the case.
'The Walker' is not a genre film and may disappoint those looking for a ripping yarn about a murder, but judged on its own terms it is a success. There are off notes; moments of dialogue strike as contrived and some imagery is unsubtle, but all said it is engrossing and like all really good cinema there can be no doubt that it is about something important.
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