Writer: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"The Way, Way Back", "Little Miss Sunshine", "Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World" & "Stranger Than Fiction"
And the most inspiring movie of 2013 goes to... "The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty"! If you're looking for a feel good movie that doesn't stray too far from reality and threads through the harsh daily routines of life with a comical twist, then you'll find that this relatable movie for the everyday man tugs on all the right heartstrings.
Early reviews of the film from the western hemisphere have been panning the movie despite it being rather decent (at least it's what this reviewer thinks!), but this may be largely due to the fact that this contemporary take of the 1939 classic short story by James Thurber had a much loved, closer to the original material musical adaptation in 1947 starring Danny Kaye. Dabbling with original material may seem quite tricky if it's just one fold, but in this case, since the story of "Walter Mitty" is also studied as part of the North American school curriculum, comparisons are inevitable. But take this movie as a standalone, and it's like a moving 'Live life to the fullest!' inspirational poster.
After years of production hell, this modern retelling of Walter Mitty had its slew of potential leads; Owen Wilson, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey and Sacha Baron Cohen, until Ben Stiller was considered and taken on as the lead. Then there was that problem in securing a director, and once again Stiller, who is no stranger to directing thanks to his stint with "Reality Bites", "The Cable Guy" and "Tropic Thunder", finally helmed the project. Good thing too, as Stiller's full freedom with his character shines through, making him the perfect icon to represent those who find themselves emphatically stuck in a routine and too frigid to break free and be the best version of themselves.
Working in the photo department of the now discontinued Life Magazine (an apt symbolic reference), we're introduced to the lonely and single Mitty, his daily routine at work and his daydreams which some include his crush, Cheryl (Kristen Wiig), a co-worker. When the magazine makes its transition from print to online, making Mitty's hands-on job and along with a few others in the company redundant to the digitalised company, that's when Mitty is forced to face reality. Things get worse when his new manager (Adam Scott) turns out to be a bully and when Mitty loses an important photo negative that's meant for the magazine's final print cover, he's forced to travel the world and hunt for the adventurous photographer, played Sean Penn, for the original copy.
There are many memorable moments in the movie, but one in particular that stands out features both Stiller and Wiig in a scene that parodies "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button" as one of Mitty's many fantasies. The pairing of these comedic actors who like Mitty are also trying to break out of their moulds for diversity, have great screen presence and Stiller as Mitty has once again created a character that audiences will love and most importantly, be his most relatable character to date. With that being said, it's not as if the actors stray away from being funny at all, in fact, there is a healthy balance of inserting humour and finding them seemingly naturally through meek situations that's reality based.
The beautiful minimalist cinematography which is at times just like watching the National Geographic channel via hipster glasses and the blend of scenes shot in New York and Iceland with its mix of music used in the movie, only elevates the overall melancholy feel. The title score of the movie that's composed by indie artiste Jose Gonzalez, whom Stiller revealed had hummed out the entire tune of the song "Step Out" after just five minutes of watching the early cut of the movie, is a theme to inspire.
Invoking the extraordinary out of the ordinary and to be that person whom you always wanted to be, what audiences will learn from Mitty, is to live out all your dreams, or you'll spend your whole life dreaming.Cinema Online, 20 December 2013