There is always a time and a place for politically driven movies to hit more succinctly with audiences and create a stronger emotional reaction due to current climates or personal experience with the subject matter at hand. There is no exception for that exact reaction and resonation when it comes to Daniel Adams’s film The Walk, which truly is a slow burn until the third act which will have your stomach twisted and turned upside down along with a gut punch of an end that is truly horrifying because despite the fact that the film takes place in 1974, the issues are still present and prominent in 2022.
The film takes place in south Boston in the 1970s where segregation is alive and well. A new law passes stating that the segregation within schools is coming to an end and, come the beginning of the new school year, schools will be integrated. As police officers, both Bill Coughlin (Justin Chatwin) and Lamont Robbins (Terrence Howard) have to now navigate these new changes, as well as prepare their children Kate (Katie Douglas) and Wendy (Lovie Simone) for the challenging time ahead of them as they’re both being placed in different schools. While Kate is none to pleased, to be put lightly, Wendy is trying to make the best out of a new situation, but the tensions are boiling over and things are about to get messy.
While all of this is happening, gangster McLaughin (Malcolm McDowell) is meeting his buddy, Johnny Bunkley (Jeremy Piven), who’s freshly out of prison, to discuss the new anti-segregation law and how it’s going to affect them. With their strategy to do something to ensure their way of life stays put, the increasingly aggressive racist agenda being pushed, and the school year about to begin, both Bill and Lamant have a lot to handle as they’re supposed to protect everyone at all costs, in the middle of one of the most dangerous times they could find themselves in while on the job.
The Walk is a slow burn that never fully extinguishes its flame as, when the movie ends, the final moments, the final act, truly will sit and linger with the audience for a long time after the screen goes dark. It is impossible to shake what is on the screen because, for a movie that is set as a period piece, does it ever certainly feel like it could be about modern times, which is horrifying. There is so much to understand and so much education that still has to be had surrounding the subject matter, and to see it brought to life this way is as heartbreaking as the news we see on a nearly daily basis.
The performances from the entire cast truly are phenomenal, but it is both Justin Chatwin and Terrence Howard who deliver the most heartfelt and heartbreaking performances of the entire film. On the one hand, we have Chatwin, who plays the white cop who wants to set his racist daughter straight, trying to make her understand there is no difference while also having and upholding his civil duty. On the other hand, we have Howard, who not only has to uphold the law, he also has to protect his family since they’re now being targeted because of the new law being passed. In a battle of attrition between both sides, something is bound to give, and it leads the audience to the shocking final moments of the film which are determined to linger and haunt for due time. The Walk refuses to hold back its punches and is determined to make the most out of its presence, and by doing so, delivers an impactful final film that highlights the horrors of the past that are still the horrifying realities we still live in today.
In theaters June 10th, 2022.
Final Score: 4 out of 5.