WALKING OUT is a Survival Movie at its Best

WALKING OUT is one surprising adventure survival story, a movie that was made on little budget, with two main actors, and yet still came out ten times better than the disappointment that was THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US. It is an independent movie, based on a short story from David Quammen, that keeps alive the legacy that was the writing of Ernest Hemmingway. It releases today, Thur 5th of April, in Australia from Icon Film Distribution. The full list of independent cinemas screening WALKING OUT is listed at the bottom of the review. It is rated M and runs for 96mins.


Walking Out Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins image
Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins image




Based on the “American Short Story Masterpiece” by David Quammen, WALKING OUT tracks fourteen-year-old David’s (Josh Wiggins) annual visit to rural Montana to see his brooding, off-the-grid father, Cal (Matt Bomer). Separated from the comforts of home, David is reluctant and resentful as Cal plans the boy’s first big game hunt. As the pair ascends into the wilderness, Cal tries to connect with David by recounting the story of his own first kill, on his last hunting trip with his now long-dead father (Bill Pullman via flashbakcs). After their trip is disrupted by a chance encounter with a grizzly bear, a wounded Cal realises they must both rely on David’s strength and resilience to survive.


Walking Out Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins image
Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins


“Nature is where men exist without women: men fish; men hunt; men find redemption in nature.”

Leslie Fiedler



Leslie Fiedler was an American literary critic who, when describing the work of Hemmingway, dropped the above quote. It was an ongoing theme through Hemmingway’s work, work I really need to read a hell of a lot more of! But Fiedler’s quote, and the theme of Hemmingway’s work, runs through the heart and soul of Quanmen’s short story and now in Alex and Andrew J. Smith’s movie. It is Man Vs Nature and while nature looks like postcards of pure beauty it is really a death machine and unless you either know what you are doing, give mother nature the respect she deserves, or are very lucky, she and her disciples will kill or hurt you bad. Everything is wonderful until something goes wrong in the wild, things can go downhill quickly. Not having a phone, satellite phone, or GPS beacon is suicide out in the wild.

The story of WALKING OUT is both simple and complex in its telling. You can appreciate it for a pure survival movie or you can analyse the father/son relationship. A strained relationship of a man who chose nature over his family, a passion gained from the relationship with his own father. There is a wall between father and son and the wall is based on abandonment issues, technology, society, nature and the fact that both male leads come from completely different universes but are both bonded through paternal love. Something testosterone stops most men from vocalising or allowing the other to see. In WALKING OUT the paternal relationship is bridged through disaster and it is almost primal in its display.


Alex and Andrew Smith’s direction is subtle and underplayed and the story flows naturally, although the flashbacks with Cal (Bomer) and his father (Pullman) felt a little cheaper and stilted and didn’t quite flow as the current-time plot. Todd McMullen (THE NEWSROOM, SANTA CLARITA DIET) delivers cinematography worthy of giant cinema screens and awards and the score from Ernst Reijseger pairs beautifully.


Walking Out Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins image
Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins



There are two main cast in WALKING OUT, Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins. Bill Pullman appears in flashbacks as Cal’s (Bomer’s) father. I love Pullman in anything, his scenes are admirable but he is too minor of a character to demand much attention. This is all about Father and Son, Cal and David. I would never have cast Bomer in the role of Cal. His performance however shows a very different man than what you imagine him playing. I think this is more my own presumptions than his acting ability. He is so bloody manly in this I wanted him to be my daddy haha. I truly bought him as the somewhat naturalist that mostly lives off the land. An educated redneck, a Bear Grylls without the urine drinking, if you will.

Josh Wiggins’ performance was as good, if not better than Bomer’s. The natural raw talent of Wiggins is quite unnerving. He delivers as much through his facials than his dialogue. He had this look on his face that delivered a disappointment in his father while also desperate for approval and eventually a determined look of love, need and forgiveness. Seeing his determination to carry his father out of the wilderness was tender and heartbreaking.


Walking Out Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins image
Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins



WALKING OUT will be one of the best films of 2018 that no one will hear of. Now’s your chance to see it on the big screen. Track the cinemas below and see a film that is sure to impress.



NSW – Dendy Newtown, Dendy Opera Quays, Tower Cinemas Newcastle

ACT: Canberra  DENDY  

VIC: Jam Factory, Classic Elsternwick, Belgrave Cameo, Lido, Sun Pics Yarraville, Ballarat Independent

QLD: Dendy Portside, Dendy Coorparoo, New Farm

WA: Luna Essex St, Cinema Paradiso

SA: Trak Cinema

NT: Araluen Arts Centre

TAS: Hobart State





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.


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