Film: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – beautiful and progressive visual cinema ruined by product placement
Ben Stiller directs and stars in his long awaited pet project, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which although packed with incredible imagery and cinematic progression is clouded by forced product placement and elongated conversations, which in truth hints at Stiller’s naivety in the director’s chair.
What should have been one of the best films of 2013, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty embodies all that is right and wrong with modern cinema.
Ben Stiller ascends from hack comedic director to legitimate visionary with the aid of cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh. The partnership worked better than it deserved to be and what resulted was a breathtaking and scary look at the world. The film began as a silent comedy detailing the dull life of Walter Mitty and was extremely reminiscent of The Stanley Parable which in turn took its cues from George Orwell’s 1984.
Walter’s fears and inhibitions are splattered across the screen as music and photography form an enchanting marriage. The soundtrack works so well with the crisp film Stiller chose to shoot on. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty really does embody the ancient motto of ‘Every frame a painting’ but bites its own capitalist leg.
I am under the assumption and thinking that creatives should never bow down to the capitalist structure unless of course it is a satire and commentary of it, like The LEGO Movie. Instead, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty became a beautiful advert for Papa Johns, KFC, Time, Life and eHarmony as it kneeled to funding and corporate structure.
It also fell prey to the constant badgering of extended conversations, with a few exceptions, which were neither interesting nor funny enough to take note of and that is were Stiller coming out of his comfort zone falls short.
It is a brave attempt, an amazing showcase of cinema peppered with frames of utter clarity and tranquility but what should have been one of the best films of 2013 will be unfairly overlooked as another cog in the capitalist regime. But do you know what? I still loved it.
Score – B