Movie review / ’23 Walks’ (M)

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Alison Steadman as Fern and Dave Johns as Dave in “23 Walks”… “Together the two pull off two of the best performances you will see in cinema this year.”

“23 Walks” (M) **** and a half

FROM writer/director Paul Morrison comes a tale of the human condition as old age begins to bite, telling it like it is when two strangers, Dave (Dave Johns) and Fern (Alison Steadman), no longer young, meet in a London park while walking his German Shepherd and her Cairn terrier.

Why 4½ stars? Here’s how another reviewer, David Griffiths, put it:

“The great script also allows Dave Johns and Alison Steadman the chance to shine. Grouped together with his performance in ‘I, Daniel Blake’, Johns shows that he is a likeable actor who… once again he deserves to win awards for his work here, anything else is just wrong.

“Likewise Steadman was born to play Fern. She plays her uneasiness to a tee and like Johns makes her character likeable to the audience despite her flaws. Together the two pull off two of the best performances you will see in cinema this year.

“Thought-provoking, dramatic and at times intense, ’23 Walks’ is the perfect example of why you shouldn’t judge a film before watching. The film comes from one of the best screenplays of 2020 and gives its two leads the opportunity to pull off some sensational performances.”

This neatly sums it up. Watching it, I found myself achingly moved by the honesty and the credibility that Morrison gave it, qualities not often found in films telling stories about ordinary people. 

And it has Alison Steadman. Her name may not be as familiar as other English actresses but for me she is up there on the top shelf. Her career since 1971 lists 128 titles, mostly in TV series and short films. She was in her mid-70s when she played Fern. The camera loves her. And so do I. 

As well, animal lovers will delight at how the two dogs interact with their people, each other, and the camera.

At Palace Electric, Dendy and Hoyts

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"23 Walks" (M) **** and a half
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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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