[box cover]

World Traveler

Billy Crudup stars in this confident but low-key indie as Cal, a thirtysomething Manhattan husband and dad who walks out on his family the day of his son's third birthday and hits the road, heading west. Written and directed by Bart Freundlich, World Traveler tries its audience's patience by spending nearly an hour on this callous, aimless (and, at first, stylistically fractured) journey with little more than Crudup's natural — and, in this case, restrained — charisma to keep our attention. Nevertheless, once Cal's situation snaps into focus for himself (during a great scene with the underrated James LeGros as an insightful former high school acquaintance of Cal's), the film's latent emotional content begins to pique the interest and ultimately offers some substantial payoffs. Julianne Moore features as Cal's kindred companion, and the rest of the supporting cast (including Karen Allen, Cleavant Derrick, Liane Balaban, and Cathy McCormack) is uniformly excellent. Freundlich's difficult script is strong, despite an unnecessarily obvious climactic metaphor. Columbia TriStar's World Traveler DVD looks great with an anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The auteur offers interesting insights in a commentary track, during which he discusses his challenging central character, and he also provides an optional commentary for the disc's one deleted scene. Trailer, keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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