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With: Andrew J. West, Leven Rambin, Milo Ventimiglia, William H. Macy, Neve Campbell, Virginia Madsen, Peter Facinelli, Justin Kirk, Brian White, Jim Gaffigan, Michael Patrick McGill
Written by: Paul Shoulberg
Directed by: Anna Mastro
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 94
Date: 03/13/2015

Walter (2015)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Ups and Downs

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

A feature-length adaptation of a short film (with Andrew J. West reprising his role as the title character), Walter is a crisp and quirky, yet sweet comedy; it's dark, even if it doesn't go totally black.

We're introduced to Walter (Andrew J. West), who tells us that he's the son of God ("not Jesus... that was someone else") and that his task on earth is to determine who goes to heaven and who goes to hell. He works as a ticket-taker at a movie theater, and makes his call for each moviegoer as they file past him. Meanwhile, he has earthly concerns; he has a crush on a pretty co-worker, Kendall (Leven Rambin), and his mother (Virginia Madsen) seems to have gone off the deep end, cooking eggs day and night.

Things get much worse when an unhappy ghost (Justin Kirk) begins turning up, demanding that Walter send him either to heaven or hell. Eventually Walter discovers that there may be a connection between the ghost and his own troubled past.

The concept of Walter being the son of God and choosing people's afterlife destinies isn't taken much further than a one-time joke. Yet director Anna Mastro (of TV's "Gossip Girl" and "Royal Crush") quickly establishes the meticulousness of Walter's life, and uses that as a running theme throughout.

In his room, he follows a daily routine, keeps things exactly in their places. The spaces he moves through, including the huge lobby of the theater, or a church, or walking to work in extreme wide shots, are always empty, yet full of possibility. The slow compromise of this perfect world, and Walter's increasingly messy interactions with other human beings (Madsen and William H. Macy are especially good), provide both laughs and heart.

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