‘Walkaway Joe‘ is a coming-of-age indie drama directed by Tom Wright and written by Michael Milillo. The movie was shot on location in the state of Louisiana.
Fourteen-year-old Dallas (Julian Feder) is a young man who looks up to his father Cal McCarthy (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a known pool hustler living in Louisiana. His mother Gina (Julie Ann Emery) tries to steer him right, but after Cal takes off to hide from people he owes money to, Dallas runs away to find him. Dallas suspects his dad is headed to a pool tournament in New Orleans and tries to ride there. After dodging some loan sharks that are after his father, he runs into Joe Haley (David Strathairn). Joe agrees to take Dallas as far as New Orleans. At first, he mistrusts the teen, but they begin to bond over Dallas’s missing father and Joe’s distance from his own son.
A few other critics and reviewers pointed out that the pool choreography seemed off. Whatever. That was a non-issue for me, granted I am not an expert in pool playing so that probably did not factor in with me. In my opinion, this did not hinder the story as there were exactly four scenes where pool as actually played.
I will admit the movie was a bit slow. The pace lagged a bit, but since the movie was shorter, it evened out a bit. As for the rest of the aesthetics, I definitely liked that it was filmed in the great state of Louisiana. The scenery was beautiful, which is a credit to Steven Bernstein’s skill with the cinematography.
The acting was pretty good. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and David Strathairn were excellent in their roles as well. A few other critics took issue with Julian Feder, but I felt that he did a good job as he was playing a teenager. That was a factor a lot of critics ignored.
Where the strength of the movies comes from is the themes. A man who is running away from his past runs into a boy who is trying to find his. That plot of growing up and learning about loss, redemption, and disappointment was well-explored here. It brought it home and while it did not do anything that other movies have not done in the past, it still had a good story to tell.
Bottom line, Walkaway Joe is a slow burn coming of age drama that utilizes its talent well and takes full advantage of where the movie takes place.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Minor language, Some violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: I didn’t come all this way not to play.
Check out the trailer below:
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