Directed, produced, edited and written by Randal Plunkett
Co-written by Oliver Plunkett
Shot in Ireland, WALT tells the story of a 13 year old boy named James, who find himself being bullied by other lads at school and neglected by his drunken father. One day whilst out on a walk near a lake, he meets a blind American pensioner named Walt and the two quickly become friends. Walt waits for James after school and together they fish into the evening. Walt becomes a mentor to the young boy, as James reveals his anxieties about school and relationships, but is Walt all he appears to be?
WALT is a breathtakingly beautiful dark fairytale horror that plays with your heartstrings from the start. We empathise with the young James as he goes through the stresses of secondary school and to meet a fellow lonely person and forge a friendship is quite heartwarming to watch. Director Randal Plunkett cleverly shoots scenes of the two fishing and having a laugh together as the days go by and develops their friendship before our very eyes. Though, at the back of our minds we have a distinct feeling of wariness as James divulges a lot of information about his home life to, what essentially is, a stranger.
Filmed in the stunning grounds of the Dunsany Estate, the viewer is treated to sounds of the birds tweeting and the running water down the stream. It’s very easy to imagine yourself there in the company of James and Walt in the peaceful countryside. Gentle music accompanies the film at certain points and the choices compliment the film very well.
WALT is a story driven piece of cinema, so if you’re looking for mindless gore, go elsewhere. If you’re a fan of gripping drama that relies on characters to tell a story then you will certainly be pleased by this effort. Plunkett has spent time to develop the characters and this is what makes WALT such an engaging story to watch unfold. Finding the right pace is key and Plunkett has been successful in timing the developments just right.
Young actor Cian Lavelle-Walsh is superb as schoolboy James, portraying his character with the right amount of naivity and charm. He gels well with John E. Regan’s blind 82 year old, Walt, who is endearing as the lonely pensioner who’s spending out his days in Ireland fishing all alone. The two have a great friendly chemistry with one another, with Regan’s Walt acting like a grandfather to the teenager. As the film progresses, we see how complex Regan can weave Walt’s personality.
WALT is a truly stunning film which made me sit up and observe intently, watching every second unfold in front of my eyes. What Randal Plunkett has created is both visually and audibly stimulating and the compulsion to watch to see what happens next is just too hard to resist. There is no question that Plunkett is immensely skillful and I hope to see more of his work soon. With the writing skills of both himself and his brother, Oliver Plunkett (who co-wrote WALT), I’m sure these two could create a very successful feature length film.