Hours: Paul Walker’s Finest Moment
Kurt Russell recently did an interview with Collider where he had this to say about Paul Walker:
I sensed that this was a guy who enjoyed many things in his life and was very appreciative, but was also getting to a point where he wanted to begin to seriously, in an artistic sense, explore what would excite him and find out where he might go. He was literally just turning that page and just saying that he wanted to peak onto the other side, and then he was out.
Hours is Paul Walker wanting to see where he could go. There are no fast cars, sharks, or scantily clad women to distract from his acting. In Hours he can’t fade into the background because the camera is always in front of him. Because of this he gives his best performance since Running Scared and is able to hold the camera for 90 minutes. Most importantly, the film builds to a powerful climax that may be Walker’s finest moment on screen.
Hours is the story of a man trying to keep his baby alive during Hurricane Katrina. His wife died delivering the premature baby and due to underdeveloped lungs the infant is forced to stay on a ventilator for 48 hours. The problem is the hurricane wipes out the power and leaves Walker alone in the hospital with a hand-cranked generator that only keeps a three minute charge.
The three minute charge doesn’t allow Walker to sleep and forces him to stay close to the baby while waiting out the storm. The set up is inventive and I like how Katrina isn’t used gratuitously. Many of the people who worked on the film suffered through Katrina and because of this Walker felt he had to bring his best. I like knowing that he wanted more and put himself in situations where he had to act and get out of his comfort zone.
There are several problems with the film. The quiet moments are interrupted by underwritten bad guys who are cartoonishly villainous. I understand a hospital would be a prime target to pilfer during a natural disaster. However, introducing new people into the story hurt the flow and felt like manicured interruptions. You wish the director would have simply allowed Walker to do his thing. There is an earnestness to his performance that showcases his ability to relax and make his dialogue fresh. He is believable as he tells his baby daughter about her mom and how they first met (they stopped a bank robber).
I wanted it to be more like the fantastic 2013 film All is Lost. All is a harrowing story of survival that let Robert Redford own the screen while staying almost silent. He didn’t need to explain everything whilst talking to himself. You figured out his character by actions. I understand that out of sheer grief and delirium Walker would be talking to his baby. However, he didn’t have to say “I need batteries” as the charge is going down. I wish they would have let Walker perform silently as opposed to giving us a running narrative.
Hours is a neat little film that proves Walker was capable of more. His relaxed presence and the moving finale make this a film worth watching. If you are a Walker fan I totally recommend checking out Hours.