A-hunt­ing we will go

A wilder­ness tale of a di­vided fa­ther and son is a mov­ing drama.

New Zealand Listener - - BOOKS & CULTURE - di­rected by Alex & An­drew Smith – James Robins

Gruff, sparse and al­most ele­gant in its sim­plic­ity, Walk­ing Out beats the well-trod­den path of the back­coun­try sur­vival tale.

Based on a short story by David Quam­men, it sees ur­ban teenager David (Josh Wig­gins) dis­patched to moun­tain­ous Mon­tana for a week with his out­doors­man fa­ther Cal (Matt Bomer). At first, the gulf between them seems as wide as the val­leys they tra­verse – David at­tached to his smart­phone, Cal liv­ing by lamp­light in the wild.

Cal wants to cut David loose from his mother’s “apron strings” and so takes him high into the Big Sky Coun­try (beau­ti­fully pho­tographed) to hunt moose. Calamity strikes, and they strug­gle to stay alive in the harsh el­e­ments among ma­raud­ing wildlife.

What gives Walk­ing Out – which re­ally ought to be called Limp­ing Out – so much of its emo­tional heft is the sense of tra­di­tion that Cal em­bod­ies. His own fa­ther (played in flash­back by Bill Pull­man) passed down his knowl­edge of the land as if it was some­thing sa­cred. And in turn, Cal must teach David, by trial and tribu­la­tion, the route from naive boy­hood to en­dur­ing ma­tu­rity.

This is done sen­si­tively and without too much un­for­giv­ing mas­culin­ity. Even if their bid to sur­vive feels fa­mil­iar, the nu­anced feel­ings re­vealed by the pair linger long in the mem­ory. IN CIN­E­MAS NOW

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