Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Manifest destiny is a bitch, June 23, 2009
This review is from: Walker (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)
Alex Cox saw his popularity in Hollywood keel over in 1987 with the one-two punch of his punk spaghetti western STRAIGHT TO HELL and his hallucinatory and strangely entertaining political satire WALKER. Telling the true story of William Walker, a Tennessee fillibuster who embarked for Nicaragua in the late 19th century with a small army of crminals and mercenaries in tow and the intention of conquering the nation to open it's ports up to shipping tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, Cox uses Walker's little-known story to launch a scathing critique of the Reagan administration's genocidal foreign policy towards Central America in the 1980's. Historical accuracy is not what the director is interested in here. People drive modern cars and read TIME magazine (with Walker on the cover) while helicopters descend into burning Nicaraguan towns with State Department officials in tow. If Cox had filmed a straight historical epic he might have made some money and garnered some respect in the show business circles, but then he wouldn't be the Alex Cox we all know and love: the giggling film geek/cinematic anarchist who delights in tearing down all the tired Hollywood cliches and conventions in order to craft his own wonderous outlaw art. REPO MAN and SID & NANCY may be the filmmaker's most respected and accessible films, but I think it's high time WALKER got a reappraisal. The movie is a beautiful and messy collision of many eclectic elements. The expertly assembled cast headed by a masterful Ed Harris in the title role and also includes the Cox repertory company featuring Sy Richardson, Xander Berkely, Miguel Sandoval, Dick Rude, and Zander Schloss all in typically wild top form. Peter Boyle chews and spits out the scenery as the contemptuous tycoon Vanderbilt. Richard Masur, Marlee Matlin, Rene Auberjonois, John Diehl, and LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE director Alfonso Arau. The late, great Joe Strummer of The Clash composes a excellent score with a strong Latin flavor and nary an orchestral flourish. For anybody willing to take a chance and discover a great and underappreciated filmmaker at the peak of his powers giving the screw to the Hollywood system, WALKER is a treasure that yields many rewards upon repeat viewings. I can't recommend this baby enough.
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