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Review of "THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY"
By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 2014.
First Published: 7th January 2014 Revised: same day 21st May 2014 Revised 3rd January 2015
REVIEW: "THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY" by Jayne Waterford

Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is a man in the nucleus of his life. Mitochondria include: Adam Scott as quintessential child man Ted Hendricks, Sean Penn plays ultimate pal Sean O'Connell, Magnum-type photographer with creative integrity and a mom, Edna, played by Shirley MacLaine who is cool but a little thoughtless.

Is Ben Stiller's "THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY" (2013) an extended fulfilment dream sequence? Walter has worked in a cave lit with few desk lamps for 16 years. He bursts out from here.

When I first saw the trailer for "THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY" it featured the most dynamic, large-scale, action sequences, giving me the impression that "WALTER MITTY" was going to start from where Christopher Nolan's "INCEPTION" (2010) left off. But no. "WALTER MITTY" treads a different path of introspection. Walter unravels his personal sense of reticence and is inspired by love to cross the boundary reinforced by the nature of his job as a negative assessor and archivist with LIFE magazine to engaging with subject matter on the other side of the lens.

It's a story of people, no matter how interesting, being hampered by the same insecurities and daydreamers pursuing excellence. It's a story of the romantic nature of photography, like a sailor relies on a god-like ability to read the movement of squalls, a photographer has to be there and anticipate the shot. The ultimate romantic figure who jets around the world seeing these opportunities not giving a hoot for his manly, sunburnt exterior is Sean O'Connell, played by Sean Penn.

In the course of our film Walter is revealed to have a very essential job at LIFE magazine, one that carries creative authority and so we slip into how appropriate it is for star photographer, Sean O'Connell, to admire him and ultimately... but that would be spoiling the biggest reveal in the picture.

The treatment of focus throughout this film is very interesting. We can't call it camera work any more as focus on everything may well have been softened in post-production but colour compositions are interesting. Bright contrasts catch your eye in a very soft foreground, after the manner of traditional picture composition.

What struck me as unusual is that focus was constrained to the point of guiding where your eye wandered over a focused object. The whole of Cheryl

(Wiig)'s front may well be sharp when she spoke, that is where we may look but Walter's deliveries were made out of a sharply focused head [floating in fuzz]. This was contracted to parts of faces and finally we were drifting off to reverie as we chased patches of focus over the surfaces of whole objects central to the action. It got to the point of reminding me of a bad music mix, whole areas of performance blurred on the desk. It was a technique that prompted day dreaming, forced you to wander over the image in a very dreamy way half missing things but necessarily connecting with your internal monologue even if she sometimes spat a little incredulity.

Characters we bonded with were further isolated by being placed in hostile, inaccessible landscapes. We couldn't help but get close to this likeable man and his less-of-a-bitch-than-we-thought love object in the person of a very straight Cheryl.

Edna, played by Shirley MacLaine also seems a little distant at first. She seems to hover like a character from a novel written by Lobsang Rampa. She turns out to be cool as does Walter. An insight to the initially undisclosed nature of her character seems to be her earrings, laced with that 18% tin silver one finds in India and its northern neighbours.

It was like Walter's dreams were activated as we

ventured to exotic locations in his pod of identity. We are engaged in the-act-of-becoming.

Will, "negative 25," become a euphemism?

I thoroughly enjoyed this film. I knew I was going to enjoy this film. 10/10

Copyrighted ©: Jayne Waterford, 2014.

Ben Stiller's
"THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY" (2013)
STOP DREAMING START LIVING
Director Ben Stiller
Producers Stuart Cornfeld, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., John Goldwyn, Ben Stiller. Executive Producers include: Gore Verbinski.
Stars Ben Stiller (Walter Mitty) & Kristen Wiig (Cheryl Melhoff), Shirley MacLaine (Edna Mitty) & Sean Penn (Sean O'Connell)
Release Date 26th December 2013
Category Fantasy Adventure
Running Time 114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
Rating PG
Origin USA
Coda No
http://waltermitty.com
Distributor 20th Century Fox
I think Ben Stiller made the website himself.