Film Review - The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Dan O’Neill 2014-01-03 3 min read

Here we are, only three days into 2014, and I’m making rash claims - It will take something special to knock the The Secret Life of Walter Mitty off my movie of the year list.

I was conflicted before I had watched it. Good: Friends hyping it up, a beautiful looking trailer, and a really great soundtrack. Bad: Poor enough reviews, a really long ben-stiller-talking-to-the-audience trailer, and then when we got there - some really bad seats in the cinema.

This modern adaptation of James Thurber’s famous short story from 1939, Walter Mitty travels to some of the world’s most beautiful places to track down the elusive photographer Sean O’Connell, played by wonderfully cast Sean Penn.

Without a doubt this movie is gorgeously shot. Everywhere looks beautiful, from New York to the Himalayan mountains. Without giving too much away, there are seascapes to admire, sunsets to fall in love with, and mountains to stare at in wonderment. I did all three, and would again, given the chance.

Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty

I sat and stared at the screen and marvelled even with the pretty poor seats. By the end of it I was absolutely sold on 4K and huge TV’s - forget 1080p on a 50” TV - I want 4k on an 81 inch behemoth. I want to sit in front of my TV and get that cinema experience again.

Throughout the movie, all of these beautiful shots are perfectly complemented by songs and music from artists such as Of Monsters and Men, Jose Gonzalez, and Arcade Fire.

Dirty Paws from Of Monsters and Men is a particularly good song and fits the ambience of the movie really well. It was an immediate purchase afterwards.

Make no mistake, the soundtrack helps to make this movie as good as it is.

Although not always a favourite with everyone, I’ve always been a Ben Stiller fan. He’s been in some good movies, and has some great directorial form so far in my opinion, with movies like The Cable Guy, Tropic Thunder and Zoolander.

He’s carried on that form - and its unlike any Ben Stiller directed movie I’ve seen before. And take from that what you will. He also plays a character I’ve never seen him play before - and it suits him. Stiller’s Walter Mitty is likeable, interesting character and I really wanted to see him succeed. There’s a well chosen cast around him too, from Kirsten Wiig to Adam Scott - though that beard is hard to look at.

Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty

I loved The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - it was a stunningly beautiful, moving story of dreaming big and then following through.

So despite the lacklustre reviews, I don’t know anyone who didn’t like this movie. Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing it again. Easy to watch and funny, with some great sequences that hit me straight in the feels.