This low-key, serious drama is less about desperate thrills than digging deep to find inner strength. Based on a highly regarded short story by David Quammen, Walking Out is part father-son drama, part coming-of-age tale, part survival adventure. Its hazardous mountain trek feels more immediate than, say, the one in The Mountain Between Us, but it's no rollercoaster adventure, either. Rather, the film is appropriately intimate and intense.
As the tough outdoorsman father, Bomer is convincing. Cal is tough on David when the boy visits for a carefully planned moose hunt. The reason for Cal's divorce from David's mom is never detailed, but Cal's coldness and how set he is in his ways speak volumes. As David, Wiggins has the opportunity to develop from a complaining teen into a focused, determined young man. The culture of hunting for meat is taken seriously, with disdain shown for other sport killing. The movie's specificity, the detail of the writing, and the environment that the adapter-director brothers (Alex and Andrew J. Smith) create generate a natural intensity. That said, Walking Out isn't on the same level of gritty desperation as, say, Alive or The Revenant; the sparse score clues us into the film's quiet calm. There's peril, but this experience is really about the main characters getting to know their fathers, each other, and themselves.