As my good friend and fellow Film Addict Chris McHugh put it, Paul Walker went out of this world “2 Fast, 2 Furious”. He was young, good looking and had a good film career going. Whether you like the insane child like energy of the Fast & Furious films, you had to appreciate their appeal and how they fit into the summer action genre. Walker was born into that franchise in 2000 with Vin Diesel. They became friends, brothers and grew up in the film business together. Before he died last November, Walker made a small independent film called Hours that flipped everything movie fans thought they knew about Walker. I had a chance to watch this movie recently. While my original review posted on film-addict, here it is.
Running Time-97 minutes
Written and Directed by Eric Heisserer
Cast-Paul Walker and Genesis Rodriguez
Plot-Stuck in a hospital without power on the day Hurricane Katrina strikes, a father must do whatever it takes to keep his infant daughter alive.
My Take-Before his untimely death, Paul Walker was known as an action star who didn’t mind giving the bulk of the spotlight to his co-stars. Whether it was the Rock or Vin Diesel in The Fast & Furious films or Idris Elba in Takers, Walker didn’t mind the spotlight but he wasn’t keen on standing in the middle of it. In Hours, a film released two weeks after his passing last November, Walker carries the movie on his shoulders alone. Take away a few flashback scenes with Genesis Rodriguez, and the rest of the film is Walker struggling to keep his daughter alive as a massive storm hits New Orleans. Hours is an actor’s showcase, and a film that sits next to Castaway in the sense that it’s one actor for the entire running time trying to do one thing. Survive. Walker isn’t just good in this role. He shows you a completely different side of his acting repertoire and reopens that wound of sadness that an actor was lost way too soon.
Writer/Director Eric Heisserer wisely keeps the action on one floor of a hospital during Katrina and doesn’t manipulate the historical disaster for extra tears or emotional wrangling. He uses the horrible 2005 storm as a backdrop for a worst possible situation for a new father in a dangerous place. The film hinges on Walker’s character keeping his infant daughter alive by winding a battery that can only keep a 3 minute charge. Without that, she won’t be able to breathe for long. Benjamin Wallfisch’s score is minimal and perfectly placed. Heisserer frames several scenes around Walker flashing back to his time with his wife, played by Genesis Rodriguez with a sweet grace that lends the film a welcome break from the tension.
The thrills element is at play but the action is slow and rightfully intense while the majority of the film centers on one room over a 2 day period. The best part of the movie is that the realism of the situation never fades. Katrina set off a fear and desperation of its own and that merges with the central plot. Walker’s character tries to find help and resources but can’t stray too far from the room and he runs into certain obstacles, both physical and mental. The news footage of Katrina is real and mixes well with the fictional plot. There are a handful of scenes with a dog that aren’t crafted from your typical man meets dog variety. While the film seems familiar in areas, the originality of the plot and its execution raises the level of the entertainment factor.
Walker is the heart and soul of the film and gripping in a role that requires the actor to run the gauntlet of emotions. He is at once happy, sad, desperate, stressed, fried physically, hopeful and sad again. Any parent will put themselves in this situation as it plays out and Walker makes it real. It’s an impressive range showed by an actor who many thought simply drove cars fast and had a great smile. In this film, Walker shows his age and his versatility while reminding you that sometimes an actor’s greatest achievements are yet to come or in this case, located right before a bittersweet end. Hours is worth visiting.
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