The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Review

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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a loose remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye film which in turn was inspired by James Thurber’s short story, is one of my favourite films of the year.

I say loose remake as this modern day re-telling of the Mitty story has very little in common with the original film or the book that it’s based on.
In this version, we find Walter Mitty working as a negative process technician for Life Magazine which seems to be reaching the end of its run.
When the negative that is to be used for the final issues front cover goes missing, he sets out on a trip to Greenland to try and track it and it’s elusive photographer down.
From beginning to end I loved this film. It’s pretty much tailor made to my tastes.
First and foremost, Walter Mitty is a character I love. The quint-essential day dreamer who can’t help but fantasise about being the hero, getting the girl of his dreams and doing something more worthwhile than his dead end job, is a character which I think we can all relate to in some way or other. 
He isn’t a dick and he isn’t obnoxious. He’s just a genuinely nice guy who you can’t help but get behind from the very beginning.
Now, you’d be forgiven for expecting The Secret Life of Walter Mitty to be of a particular type of film based purely on the fact that Ben Stiller is in it. Most of the people I’ve spoken to, some of which can’t stand him, have said they won’t watch it because of him.
This is a shame though as this is a surprisingly excellent performance from Stiller and the best I’ve ever seen him. There’s an innocence and awkwardness to his character which he plays so well and so completely different to anything else he’s done as far as I’m concerned.
Stiller also directs and it must be said that as good as his performance is, his directing here is exceptional.
I love the visuals through the entire film and he showcases a visual flare that I wasn’t expecting at all. You have the extraordinary with volcanoes erupting and people flying through the air which looks fantastic but on top of that you have a funky opening credit sequence and locations which are shot beautifully. 
All of this is supported by Steve Conrad’s excellent screenplay which balances all the different themes well, all the while shying away from becoming overly pretentious. You know a film is well written when you leave the cinema with a few key lines stuck in your head and in this case I did.
Other than Ben Stiller, the rest of the cast are all on top form. Kristen Wiig plays the love interest well and her relationship with Mitty is believable and charming.
Adam Scott is frustratingly good at playing the bullying boss and Patton Oswalt aka Remy from Ratatouille, gets a few laughs in his particular role.
Sean Penn is on screen for a whole ten minutes or so but achieves so much in that time. He gets some excellent lines and is as interesting to watch as ever.
Finally, the soundtrack. Oh man, the soundtrack is just pure awesome. Arcade Fire and David Bowie are two of many artists that appear on this film, their songs used to perfection.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty may not seem like your usual Christmas release but really it is. It’s charming, romantic, a little magical and just nice. I loved it.
It’s out officially on Boxing Day and is one which the whole family can watch and will enjoy. Stop dreaming and go watch it.

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