In what seems to be one of Hollywood’s saddest conincidences, late actor Paul Walker’s film Hours has released within a month of his untimely death. And critics have loved the actor’s no-fast-cars honest performance in this one.
“One of the final films completed by Paul Walker before he died in a car crash last month, Hours marks a poignant farewell for its star — and a promising debut for director Eric Heisserer,” writes Elizabeth Weitzman in NY Daily News. “Walker carries the picture almost single-handedly as Nolan, a father awaiting the birth of his first child in New Orleans just as Hurricane Katrina is about to hit,” she adds.
“He was a transparent hunk, somehow convincing audiences he was more like us schlubs in the seats than he was like Vin Diesel, The Rock, or the Abercrombie models he actually resembled,” writes Alan Scherstuhl in memory of Walker’s Fast & Furious roles. “Now, just weeks after his out-of-nowhere death, Walker is starring in a film that demands the opposite of him. For once, he shows his work.
In Hours, Walker plays his every-est everyman yet, a regular fella named Nolan who faces problems that can’t be solved by stunt driving,” adds a humbled Scherstuhl in Village Voice.If you’re thinking that critics are in awe of Walker because he’s dead, Alonso Duralde explains why you might be wrong.
“And while it might be easy to allow sentimentality to give way to hyperbole under the circumstances, Hours does feature Walker giving one of the best performances of his abruptly interrupted career. The film is not without its flaws, but it does allow its star the opportunity to shake off the mantle of matinee idol and to do some intense acting, a challenge that Walker more than meets,” writes Duralde in The Wrap. Kyle Smith is disappointed with the film for not being able to use Walker enough.
“The script simply doesn’t come up with enough interesting things for him to do, but instead soaks up time having him poke around the empty hospital and chat with a German shepherd while we occasionally flash back to dull scenes about how he met his now-dead wife,” writes Smith in NY Post. R. Kurt Osenlund of Time Out seems to be in agreement.
“There’s something vexing about the use of a baby as narrative device, and the movie leans too heavily on her inborn potential for heart-tuggery. And though Walker, in his most demanding part, does his best to transcend his characteristically bro-ish demeanor, he’s ultimately failed by this film, whose script and questionable taste hardly add up to a eulogy-worthy goodbye.”
That’s disappointing. Not for Neil Genzlinger of NY Times though. “Eric Heisserer, who wrote and directed the film, gives Nolan some stark split-second choices to make. Hurricane Katrina has already been pretty thoroughly mined for documentaries and fictional stories, but Hours holds your interest nonetheless.”