If you saw All is Lost, the nearly silent, avant garde movie where Robert Redford plays a lone sailor, cast adrift after a collision, then you know Redford can do almost anything (or nothing) and capture an audience. He is just shy of 80 and is still the charismatic, handsome leading man. Once again, Redford chooses a script that is fairly, I don’t know what the right word is, tame? Uneventful? Dull? Nevertheless, the A-list cast delivers.
Redford plays Bill Bryson, a writer who has recently returned to the states with his wife, Catherine (Emma Thompson). After the death of a friend, Bryson discovers his proximity to the Appalachian Trail and tells Catherine he intends to hike the 2,000-plus mile route. After some mild protestations from Catherine, Bill sets out to find a traveling companion. He finally gets an old friend, Steven (Nick Nolte), who is battling some demons of his own, to agree and off they go.
Now, if you’ve seen Wild with Reese Witherspoon or Into the Wild with Emil Hirsch (or if you are of slightly above average intelligence), you can predict the rest of the story. Like the trail itself, the film is rocky and seems to go on forever. As beautiful, witty and serene as this story of self-discovery is, and as effortlessly as the veteran stars pull it off, I can’t help but hope that Redford will take on a project with a bit more meat on the bone. It’s a 6.