On the night Adrian, the protagonist of Walking With Shadows, gets thrown out of the house by his wife, he finds his way to a guy he used to know. The ejection comes after a phone call outing him as gay.
It’s not clear what Adrian is looking for from his old friend, but they have a conversation.
One gay man recently exposed and one openly gay man: It could be start to a bad joke.
In any case, one of the things the outed man gets is practical advice.
“It’s out now,” says the guy. “This is your chance.”
Except it’s not quite easy. As he navigates the crumbling of his present life, Adrian recalls his past. This gives the filmmakers an opportunity to present scenes of the present while exploring events leading up the current moment—a clever technique for a film that opens with the fallout of a phone call. Rather than provide an amateurish expository dump at some point, the film’s director Aoife O’Kelley smartly splices the present with the past, thereby retaining a measure of narrative momentum while dishing out some of the historical context via key flashback scenes.
The cast complements the film’s impressive editing. As Adrian’s wife Ada, a woman who is forced to bear the burden of explaining her man’s actions and inactions while confused, Zainab Balogun gives one of her best performances on the big screen.
But Walking With Shadows is truly Ozzy Agu’s vehicle. As Adrian, Agu gives a fine performance of a man under pressure who can’t quite lash out.
He succeeds at conveying the tragic nature of his character’s situation while also providing the psychological basis of his ability to have kept his sexuality away from family and friends.
He might look like the strong silent type, but he really is just a man holding his head high and hiding a secret.
Walking With Shadows was made with the support of The Initiative for Equal Rights, which means it can be viewed as public service announcement. It is to the film’s credit that it ends up being a lot more.
Walking With Shadows is showing at the 2019 AFRIFF and is scheduled to screen on Thursday, 14th November 2019.
Filmhouse Landmark, Screen 1,2,3,4, and 5.