We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Carter Page likes to tell his friends: "I'm not naive, I'm superficial." His easy, ingratiating manner is ideal for his vocation, which is to act as the unpaid companion of rich society ladies as they attend events without their husbands. Quietly gay, he adores his ladies as friends and sponsors a weekly canasta game for them that turns into a gossip fest. Paul Schrader's "The Walker" shows him moving smoothly through Washington, D.C., where his father was a senator who investigated Watergate; his mild Southern drawl reflects Carter's heritage as the grandson of a tobacco tycoon and the great-grandson of a slave owner. Apparently supported by an inheritance, he is content to be well-dressed, witty and good company.
Woody Harrelson, who usually plays much rougher types like the bounty hunter in "No Country for Old Men," inhabits this character as comfortably as an old shirt. His Carter is a character but not too much of a character. A star in his circle but in a supporting role. A man who knows his place and treasures it. Schrader says one inspiration for the character was Jerry Zipkin, an escort for Nancy Reagan, Pat Buckley and Betsy Bloomingdale. Women's Wear Daily coined the term "walker" to describe him, thus identifying a social category.
His three steady "girls," all of a certain age and formidable instincts, are Lynn Lockner (Kristin Scott Thomas), Abigail Delorean (Lily Tomlin) and Natalie Van Miter (Lauren Bacall), who observes that the difficulty with marrying a rich man is that you don't get to have the money, you only get to look at it. Carter is the model of discretion, so much so that Lynn Lockner, the wife of a senator (Willem Dafoe), trusts him to drive her to her weekly meetings with a paid male prostitute in Georgetown. Nobody will recognize his car. He waits outside.