Trip along 'Waterwalk' lacks depth ★ 1/2

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'Waterwalk' (May 10, 2013)

Based on Steve Faulkner's memoir, with director Robert Cicchini playing the author and former obituary writer embarking on the trip of a lifetime with his adopted high school senior son, "Waterwalk" finds Faulkners Steve and Justin retracing the route taken in 1671 by Jesuit missionary Jacques Marquette and fur trader Louis Joliet, from the Upper Michigan Peninsula to Mark Twain country — St. Louis, Mo.

It's an impressive feat. The movie, alas, delivers all the tedium and none of the wonder, or accidental poetry and beauty, any canoe trip (large or small) has a way of delivering.

The difficult, often remote relationship we hear about in Faulkner's voiceovers isn't what we see on screen; what we see is a lot of bonding, and easy communication, interrupted by occasional brief silences and a poorly staged run-in with a dam, or a barge.

Cicchini, a good actor, does what he can despite his own good-try direction, in the quieter scenes with Chase Maser's Justin. It's a heartfelt project, but a disappointing one.

'Waterwalk' -- 1 1/2 stars
No MPAA rating
Running time:
Plays: At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday at the Siskel Film Center. The Saturday screening will feature a discussion on post-adoption counseling led by Michelle Hughes, a Chicago attorney specializing in transracial, international and general adoption education.

The discussion following the 5 p.m. Sunday screening will be led by Chicago actor and director James Sparling, the film's production manager.

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