Brandon Carpenter (Mark Balunis) is a ruthless business tycoon, living the mantra of Gordon Gecko: “Greed is good.” His ladder climb to being a billionaire by age 35 is suddenly cut short by a near-fatal car crash, leaving Brandon in a coma.
After two months, he wakes up – but is it really Brandon? His wife, Lee-Ann (Tina Schwab), thinks he’s someone else, leading the story down short-lived “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” path. Lee-Ann calls her brother, Neil (Peter O’Hara), who is also Brandon’s best friend. Neil races over to their place to find Brandon in the middle of building a compost pile.
Yup. Our bloodthirsty corporate suit has become an environmentalist.
But that’s not all. Neil soon learns that Brandon believes he is a “walk in” – an advanced being that has slipped into his body while asleep. This being woke Brandon’s liberated body up to bring to the world the message of peace, love, happiness and general socialist philosophies.
We are then treated to the entire conversation between the two friends in which Brandon drones on and on about enlightenment and spirituality. Modeled after “My Dinner with Andre,” “Walk In” is designed to get the audience to think about our world and politics. However, it is nothing more than a 71-minute leftist sermon.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have nothing wrong with films carrying a political slant. If done properly, they can be powerful and thought-provoking. Michael Moore is a genius at melding political satire with hard issues. Even if you don’t agree with everything Moore says, he makes a damn good film. Even “My Dinner with Andre” is a spotlight on the pretentious Andre as he yammers about politics and society. But it engages the audience and is impossible to turn off.
“Walk In,” on the other hand, is more of an excuse for writer/director Mark Schwab to spout political views with no foundation or back-up. Neil is nothing more than a Christian conservative strawman to Brandon’s philosophies, to the extreme point that he can’t even retort the accusation of “listening to too much A.M. radio.”
I don’t care if I disagree or am offended at a movie’s views. Just don’t preach at me. And that’s exactly what “Walk In” does.
Additionally, one of the hardest things to swallow is the casting of Mark Balunis as Brandon. Not that Balunis is a bad actor necessarily, but his look doesn’t work at all for Brandon at the beginning of the film. He looks more like Mark Borchardt from “American Movie” than a young tycoon.
I have an actor friend that I am constantly in an argument with about “the look.” Sure, acting talent has a lot to do with nailing a role, but you gotta have the right look as well. Case in point: Dustin Hoffman would never be able to play Superman. Ever. He just doesn’t have the right look.
As the intergalactic hippie after he wakes from his coma, Balunis looks perfectly at home with long, stringy hair and wire-framed glasses. But he is so miscast as a corporate raider that it is confusing at the beginning of the film.
What is impressive about this film is the strong base of loyal crew. Numbering less than a dozen, many of the crew worked double- or triple-duty to put together a professional looking piece. Plus, these diamonds in the rough are cranking out content with several dozen films under the hand of director Mark Schwab.