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U.S. Dramatic; 95 minutes.
The bonds between father and son are tested to the breaking point in "Walking Out," a nail-biter of a survival drama.
David (Josh Wiggins), 14, flies up to Montana for a winter vacation with his dad, Cal (Matt Bomer), who is divorced from David's mother. Cal has obtained a moose tag, and plans to take David far into the mountains to track and shoot the animal much as Cal's late father Clyde (Bill Pullman) did when Cal was 14.
David complains, at first, about the rugged conditions of the trip. Soon, though, father and son are enjoying each other's company, with Cal passing his outdoors knowledge along to his son. But a perilous situation, involving a mother bear and a discharged rifle, turns the trip into a life-or-death struggle to get back to civilization.
Writer-director brothers Alex and Andrew Smith ("The Slaughter Rule," SFF '02) are from Montana, and capture the rugged beauty and frightening isolation of the place perfectly. They and the movie's MVP, cinematographer Todd McMullen, also fashion gorgeous flashback sequences of young Cal (Alex Neustaedter) and Clyde sharing the outdoors.
The whole enterprise rests on the byplay between Wiggins ("Max") and Bomer ("Magic Mike"). Wiggins channels David's fear of disappointing his dad, and Bomer balances Cal's expectations of his son with the memory of how he let down his father. The paired performances, set against the astonishing Montana backdrops, make "Walking Out" a riveting experience.
– Sean P. Means
"Walking Out" screens again at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival at the following times and venues:
• Sunday, Jan. 22, 9:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City
• Monday, Jan. 23, 5:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre, Park City
• Wednesday, Jan. 25, 12:15 p.m., Eccles Theatre, Park City
• Friday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m., Redstone Cinema 2, Park City