A Walk in the Woods (2015) Review

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Travel writer Bill Bryson decides to take on a new challenge after appearing on a US TV show and cannot answered when questioned why he never wrote about his homeland.  After this and another funeral he decides to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends, who he hasn’t spoken to for years but Stephen Katz is the only one crazy enough to join him.

I remember seeing the trailer for this film and totally thinking it would be something I would like to watch, then it did not actually come to my local Cineworld and I did not get the chance to travel to the local independent cinema. However buying a book from Amazon meant I started up Amazon Prime again and this was the first thing I decided to watch on Amazon Video. I just felt like that is how I had to start this review off on a backstory on why and how I watched it.

As it started it was pretty much confirmed that I was right and it was totally my type of film. A film that has a story with characters we get to know a little better over the course of the story. Bill really does grow as the film goes on and we get to understand exactly why he has decided to complete the trail, he is not happy with the way his life has gone and thinks it is too late to do something about it. The more people were telling him he could not do it the more he wanted to prove them wrong. He apparently has it all, a wife who loves him, children and grandchildren not forgetting his well regarded writing career.

We then get Stephen who is the total opposite, he is an alcoholic and out of shape. Struggled to stay with anyone and we know right away that Bill has not been in contact with him for sometime. The effect they both have on each other during the adventure is really good to watch, it is possible to get to know someone you were once close to (and still like them). Nick Nolte creates some very funny moments and works well with the more straight faced Robert Redford, while this was a good relationship to see grow as they open up to each other about how they feel about life.

I would say my only issue is that they did not use Emma Thompson more! I am sure they could have figured out a way to have her in it more, but as always she was fantastic in her two (yes I think that was all) scenes.

I thought it was quite good to see this type of film with two older men who were just waiting for death – yes that is very morbid was mentioned during the film. I could not help but think of Wild and how it was great to see a similar thing from different points of view. As well as having very serious moments and scenes it certainly did have some very laugh out loud comedy moments. I really would recommend this film for the good performances and journey.

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