walkenchronicles

Think of this as a guide through each of Christopher Walken's films, starting with his first and moving forward. Each review will provide analysis, factoids and opinion on the ninety-plus films in his career.

A Business Affair (1994)

business coverGenre: A ‘Love-Triangle’ Drama (with a dash of comedy)

Walken in Short: Walken plays smooth-talking, womanizing New York literary publisher ‘Vanni Corso’. He has plenty of screen-time and oodles of lines.

Movie in a Sentence: Kate (Carole Bouquet) is a sassy French model married to an unpleasant yet successful British author named Alec (Jonathan Pryce), but she wants to make it as a writer too, so it’s a good thing they’ve both just met Vanni, a charming, ambitious New York publisher (Christopher Walken) who wants to lure Alec away from his previous publishing-house, and Kate from her husband.

Specs: one hour and 45 minutes long/ rated ‘R’ (swearing, drinking, no drugs, a fist-fight but no real violence, several brief glimpses of Ms. Bouquet’s nipples) / available on DVD but not Blu-ray

vlcsnap-2014-09-12-00h58m30s152Director: Charlotte Brandstrom

Writer: William Stadiem and Charlotte Brandstrom (based on the novel “Weep No More” by Barbara Skelton

Actors Other Than Walken:

  • Carole Bouquet plays ‘Kate’. She is the lead, the woman at the center of this triangle. She is saucy and sassy, and she speaks with a thick French accent. You may remember Miss Bouquet as the Bond-girl Melina Havelock in the Roger Moore Bond-flick ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (1981).
  • Jonathan Pryce plays ‘Alec’, Kate’s insufferably arrogant and tactless husband. This is a role that he plays perfectly, and I promise you by the time the film ends you will hate this man. So I guess in that he is wildly successful. I will always know Pryce as the bumbling everyman in Terry Gilliam’s epic masterpiece ‘Brazil’ (1985). He worked with Walken again in 2001 in (curiously enough) another film with the word “affair’ in it: ‘The Affair of the Necklace’.
  • Tom Wilkinson has a bit-part as ‘Bob‘. Basically he only has a scene or two where Kate uses him as a sounding board for her troubles. It’s kind of a waste of a brilliant actor, but it’s still nice to see his face in this, if only for a moment. Although it seems like he MUST have at some time, Wilkinson has never been in another film with Walken.

vlcsnap-2014-09-12-01h05m44s132Similar Films: The Object of Beauty (1991), Vicki Christina Barcelona (2008), Sabrina (1954)

Walken Content: 79% – He’s all over this film, he has several small speeches that he knocks out of the park (as usual), and he imbues his character with all kinds of small humanizing details that make him a joy to watch.

Walken Quote: Okay, so Walken and ‘Alec’ are in a restaurant together. Walken’s trying to convince him to switch publishers. Alec tells him that “you can’t turn literature into a business”. Walken smirks and responds thusly:

“Sure you can, look Alec, I know. You think I’m a nouveau riche philistine schmuck but you’d be wrong. I’ve been a millionaire nearly all my adult life, and I’ll tell you something: I graduated with top honors. Ask me from where. The university of LIFE pal. All that Latin and Greek and quotations and epigrams. None of that means diddly-squat.”  (Alec stammers: ‘D-d-diddly?’)

“Squat. That’s a word I learned in Harvard.”

~ Vanni Corso (Walken)

vlcsnap-2014-09-12-00h23m14s242Should You Watch This? Hard to say, really. I think that as a whole, this film is rather weak, and I would probably get hate-mail if I told you to watch it on its own merit. But on the other hand, Walken gets a lot of screen-time, a lot of lines. He’s eccentric and believable. There is a lot of Walken-FLAVORING sprinkled throughout this entire film. Too much to ignore.

FUN FACT: He has mentioned in an interview with James Lipton that among his film-roles to date (circa 1995) this is the role that he most identifies with.

Unfortunately, as a whole, I can’t endorse this film. It is a mediocre and half-baked romance that makes some ridiculous decisions in the third act, which subverts the strengths of all three leads. Ugh. Honestly, it ends on such a sour note, although the journey there is peppered with enough entertainment to make it tolerable, and at times entertaining.

If, however, you’re coming at this film from a purely Walken standpoint, then I’ve got to say “Do it.”

Walken tangos, golfs in stupid golf-outfits (multiple times), jogs, gets punched, gets drenched, has sex, takes a bath (with a lady!), sets a jealousy-trap with a hooker, and generally exudes enough charm to choke a cobra.

Here, check these out:

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Now if that series of photos from this film doesn’t convince you that it’s worth at least taking a peek at, then I’m going to need to take away your Walken-Fan registration card, right now!

It’s your decision.

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