A Walk in the Woods (Review)


A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods is a film based off the book called A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.  Bill Bryson is a well-known author in the world. His book generally deal with traveling to other countries in the world. Bryson decides that he wants to hike the Appalachian Trail, and his old friend, Stephan Katz, joins him. Bryson wrote a book about the expedition.  Robert Redford, who was a fan of the book, brought the rights to adapt into a movie.

He originally wanted his good friend Paul Newman to play Stephen but Newman’s untimely death laid that dream to rest. Nick Nolte was chosen to play Stephen. His character is a take on Nolte’s life.  A Walk in the Woods is directed Ken Kwapis and written by Rich Kerb and Bill Holdermann. The movie is fairly hilarious but kind of does a 360 during the third act.

Bill Bryson, Robert Redford, is living in the United States with his wife, Catherine Bryson (Emma Thompson). They’re living New Hampshire and have a comfortable life. The couple attends a funeral, and Bryson decided to take a walk to gather his thoughts only to stumble onto the Appalachian Trail. He becomes interested in the history and scenery of the Appalachian Trail.  He decides that he wants to hike the 2,000 mile trail but Catherine objects. She only agrees if he takes someone with him. Bryson calls up his old friends which they all decline besides Stephen Katz. He is a longtime friend who Bryson hasn’t seen for years. The two men hike the Appalachian Trail together and begin to reconnect their long lost friendship.

A Walk in the Woods is overall a good movie; however, the film in the last act changes its tone from humorous to serious.  Bryson and Katz are late middle age men who have lived separate lives. Bryson got married, had kids, has grandkids, taught at universities, and is a successful author while Katz is completely opposite.  Katz and Bryson both start to question their lives and ask each other existential questions at end of the movie. These questions shift the tone from comedy to drama and took the adventure out of the movie. Although on a five month hike with a partner, these questions would be contemplated by the people on the trip. The dialogue took the fun out of the movie which is why it’s a negative point.  The strongest point of the film is the chemistry between Robert Redford and Nick Nolte.

A Walk in the Woods is memorable because the scenery within the film is so breathtaking. However, the best part of the film is the interaction between Redford and Nolte. Redford is actually quite funny when the movie starts. The interview scene with Redford’s character at the very beginning of the movie is the best scene with him. The movie takes off with the scenes with Nolte and Redford. The banter and scenes between the two actors make the movie flow. The audience felt like Redford and Nolte were longtime friends that are reconnecting.

There is one scene when Redford and Nolte say in a hotel in Tennessee. Nolte does their laundry and is seduced by a woman. Redford is eating at their hotel restaurant when Nolte comes sneaking in saying that he was being chased by the husband of the woman that he was messing with.  The two keep exchanging quips and eventually get out of danger. The two actors could work together again because it is a duo that is comparable to Mel Gibson and Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon.

Overall a Walk in the Woods is a great comedy film. The performances are to die for because Redford and Nolte deliver a lot of comedy. Nolte might have a career resurgence because he stole the movie.   A Walk in the Woods would have been one of my favorite films of the year but the ending is a letdown.


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