Waking the Dead

Director: Keith Gordon
Screenwriters: Robert Dillon

Institute History

  • 2000 Sundance Film Festival


To describe a film as reminiscent of classic Hollywood, particularly in this more cynical era, may not be interpreted as flattering, but Walking The Dead achieves a passionate romanticism and beautifully inspirational tone that, to be truthful, we don't see enough of these days. And coupled with extraordinary, almost luminescent performances by Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly, this consummate drama blends the metaphorical and the real to make a powerful statement about love and careers that is radiantly expressive.
Keith Gordon once again displays a remarkable talent for multilayered, rich filmmaking as he tells the tale of a young man, Fielding Pierce, in the Coast Guard (it is after all 1972, and one had to deal with the draft). He meets and falls in love with Sarah Williams, a very committed social activist who is involved in the sanctuary movement in Latin America. Despite their differences politically, the two are soon crazy about each other. Promising to be together forever, they're finding their way when, suddenly, Sarah dies in a car bombing involving Chilean exiles.
Cut to 1982. Fielding is now involved with a socialite girlfriend and about to run as the hand-picked candidate for Congress by his power-broker father-in-law, when Sarah reappears to him as vividly as when she was alive. Did she actually die, or is he going mad? With a fairytale simplicity yet perfectly conceived characters and settings. Walking the Dead describes the arc of a life's pursuit and a heart's desire.

Screening Details

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