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‘I’m Charlie Walker’ (review)

I Am Charlie Walker, is loosely based on the real story of the titular character, Charlie Walker. A trucker who took a contract to help with the 1971 San Francisco Bay Oil Spill, Walker utilized his smarts, grit, and determination to become quite known for his work. The movie manages to entertain but fails to really do the full story of Walker justice.

Many characters honestly seem to not be especially fleshed out, with a lot of this perhaps due to the short running time of the flick (not even a full hour and a half). Safiya Fredericks is especially criminally underutilized in her role as Annette Walker (Charlie’s wife), serving more as a narrator than a character. We get a bit of a feel for who Walker himself is, but his family–who he is ostensibly doing all of his work for–is reduced somewhat to window-dressing.

I am someone who often says they enjoy films with more manageable lengths, but there is so much to Charlie Walker and those who surrounded him, yet with a short runtime the film has to move at an incredibly quick pace to tell even some of Walker’s story.

The movie’s smaller budget is apparent at times too, with certain sets really looking like film sets as opposed to inhabited spaces. The score is a bit weak too, not always fitting the tone of what we are seeing. This really is apparent in a scene with a home invasion that is accompanied by a weirdly jaunty tune.

I’ve said a number of my concerns with, I Am Charlier Walker, but I actually did overall like it.

The main reason for that? Mike Colter.

Mike Colter does so much in, I Am Charlie Walker, with the little he is given. Colter is a fantastic actor and even if a set looks a little drab, he injects a scene with life and keeps us glued to our screen. When the more ancillary characters are talking in scenes I have to admit my mind wandered a bit, but anytime Colter gave us his version of Walker, my eyes were glued to the screen.

The real-life Charlie Walker was a complex person. A hero to some in his fight for equality and with his ingenuity, he’s regarded with scorn by others who will quickly bring up accusations he faced of tax evasion, perjury, and otherwise acting unethically in his business dealings.

It is unfortunate how, I Am Charlie Walker, lacks as much complexity as it could have due to a clearly smaller budget and shorter runtime. Mike Colter makes this film worth a viewing, however.

3 out of 5 stars

*  *  *  *  *
Produced by Charlie T. Walker, Mike Regen, Patrick Gilles 
Written and Directed by Patrick Gilles
Starring Mike Colter, Dylan Baker, Safiya Fredericks, Mark Leslie Ford,
Steven Wiig, Emma Caulfield Ford, Monica Barbaro, Carl Lumbly

 

 

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