A prescient folktale of American virtues, absolute values that corrupt absolutely, a manifest destiny of celestial destruction. Director Alex Cox begins the film with a declaration of verity, a satirical and astute reference for an Auteur who knows that cinema itself is a lie, that reality is altered by the film process itself.
Cox’s polemic is focused upon the historical William Walker as an icon of US hubris, conjoining the past with the present to create a symbiotic nexus of noxious Nationality. This is guerilla filmmaking, ignoring convention and recasting reality into deadly satire. Ed Harris as the skewed renegade contributes an excellent mixture of both compassion and absolute madness, this grey-eyed man whose destiny was a road to Hell paved with good intentions (at least from his perspective). Cox’s style is an homage to Peckinpah with slow motion bloodletting and grand guignol violence. His use of hilarious anachronisms pinpoints capitalistic greed and yellow journalism, from a well placed soda bottle to magazine headlines. The legendary Joe Strummer adds a soundtrack full of rhythmic clash contrasted with gentle guitars that fits each scenario, both evocative and emotive.
WALKER is volatile condemnation of American Foreign Policy and his execution a shot heard ’round the world. Unfortunately, there’s always a revolution in need of exploitation. Final Grade: (B+)