DVD Premiere- Jan. 25th, 2011
Val Kilmer stars as Mr. Nobody; a portly, mystery man with no fingerprints who shows up one Christmas Eve night at an old motel that's supposed to be a police station (?) wanting to confess about some murders or something. It's clear from the start that something is off with Mr. Nobody, who is very cryptic in his words, whistles a lot, and looks as if he's made of pale play doh. A mysterious game of mental cat-and-mouse ensues, and the deputies must fight for their very lives against a killer who might not be a killer, but is trying to kill them all for almost killing him. Mmm hmm. That's really the plot.
In the early going, this movie had me hooked. It had an interesting feel to it, and did a good job at setting up a creepy atmosphere. The set up was at least interesting; I wanted to know what happened to the little girl. I wanted to know what Mr. Nobody's story really was. I really wanted to see Camille Sullivan's rack. In the end I got everything I wanted (sans the rack), but it was delivered so haphazardly that I didn't really want to know anything anymore.
Somewhere along the way, the movie went from interesting to cheesy. It's as if Val Kilmer tried to hard to be too mysterious and clever with his words and mannerisms, and the movie suffered for it. I dare say he overacted. The kill scenes were a bit lame as well. The sequence where one officer writhes around in a locked car being suffocated to death, while her fellow officers repeatedly yell "Get down!" and fail to shoot the windows out, was nearly funny. It seemed to last forever too.
And why was this called The Traveler? I think they meant to imply that he was a drifter, but traveler makes me think he just got off a plane from somewhere and is in a hurry to catch a bus to somewhere else. Trust me, Mr. Nobody is in no hurry in this movie. They should have called it "The Whistler" or "Death Came Whistling." Maybe even "Why is this happening?" All three titles would have been fitting, in one way or another.
We've seen worse, but we've most assuredly seen way better too. As for Val Kilmer, I don't know how he gets roped into some of the movies he's in lately; he does a great movie, then he comes back with 3 or 4 sub par b-movies in a row. Then he does it again. He's still a good actor, but a lot of his movies lately aren't.
The Traveler isn't a total mess, and it certainly has its moments, just be warned that it's uneven and might make you snap the next time you hear someone whistling.