I have to admit, this movie didn’t really interest me at first. The trailers weren’t really doing anything for me but I decided to go see it based on the star power alone. I mean, Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson? That’s some damn fine casting right there. I’m glad I gave this one a chance though, it’s actually a very good little movie. The acting is fantastic and the scenery is downright gorgeous. The film is directed very well by Ken Kwapis who manages to bring a homeliness to the film that I don’t see much of nowadays. Let’s talk about the story a little. Billy Bryson (Robert Redford) is a travel author that hasn’t really written anything in a long time and is in a bit of a rut. He has a wonderful wife (Emma Thompson) and family but he’s getting bored of staying at home and doing the same old thing. He decides to walk the Appalachian trail as a way to learn more about his own country and to get out of the house and have one more adventure. Everyone tells him he needs help so he looks to his friends to accompany him.
Unfortunately, no one is interested until he gets a call from a man named Stephen Katz (Nick Nolte), an old traveling buddy of his that he fell out of touch with. They decide to take the journey together but neither of them realize just what they are getting themselves into. Man, you really can’t go wrong with this kind of casting. Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are the stars of this film and they both do a fantastic job, no surprise really. Redford’s Bryson is straight and narrow but is looking for some kind of catharsis on the trail that he doesn’t believe he can find anywhere else. Nolte on the other hand is lazy, out of shape, and a womanizer that just wants to stay out of trouble. It’s not exactly a story we haven’t seen before but it’s always fun to see how two complete opposites learn to get along and become the best of friends. These two are just fun to watch and I honestly would have liked to see another half hour of them just talking to one another. Emma Thompson and the others do a great job as well but very little of the movie focuses on them. It’s really all about the relationship between Bryson and Katz. One other thing that I have to mention is how incredibly beautiful this film is at times. I’ve never been on the Appalachian trail but this movie makes me want to go out and see what I can do on it (I’ll get tired after two miles…). The mountains, forests, waterfalls, and even the towns are beautifully shot and I want to go out and see it all with my own eyes. I’ve been in most of these states but I never realized just how wonderful all this country is that is right outside my doorway. If you’re into seeing beautiful vistas and visiting wondrous areas in your films then I definitely recommend this one. There really isn’t a whole lot that I want to give away about the film. It’s nothing out of the ordinary but the directing, acting, and scenery is great and I wholeheartedly enjoyed the film. The resolutions are predictable but the journey is fun and memorable. I recommend everyone give it a shot.