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94 minutes · 1987

Drama, Historical Drama
Like Alex Cox's previous films (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy), this delirious 1987 fantasy about William Walker, the American who ruled Nicaragua from 1855 to 1857, is all over the place and excessive, but as a radical statement about the U.S.'s involvement in that country it packs a very welcome wallop. The witty screenplay is by novelist Rudy Wurlitzer (Nog, Slow Fade), whose previous screenwriting forays included Two-Lane Blacktop and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid; Ed Harris plays the crazed Walker, Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God) is his deaf-mute fiancee, and Peter Boyle is Cornelius Vanderbilt. Deliberate and surreal anachronisms plant the action in a historical version of the present, and David Bridges's cinematography, combined with a liberal use of slow motion, creates a lyrical depiction of carnage and devastation. Significantly, most of the film was shot in Nicaragua, with the cooperation and advice (but without the veto power) of the Sandinista government, and Edward R. Pressman—whose previous credits include Badlands and True Stories—was executive producer. One can certainly quarrel with some aspects of the film's treatment of history, but with political cowardice in commercial filmmaking so prevalent, one can only admire this movie's gusto in calling a spade a spade, and the exhilaration of its anger and wit.


See our full review: An interview with director Alex Cox about <i>Walker</i>, one of the most audacious American films of the 1980s

An interview with director Alex Cox about Walker, one of the most audacious American films of the 1980s

Cox answers questions about the 1987 film in advance of a September 8 revival screening at the Music Box Theatre. »

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