Besides Mark Wahlberg, it’s hard to say where Traveller goes wrong. There are some problems with Jim McGlynn’s script, but they’re mostly little ones. Julianna Margulies’s character’s name isn’t repeated enough, leaving her as “Carol from ‘ER’” for a lot of the movie. And even Wahlberg improves somewhat. He’s utterly incapable of humility; sometimes it’s all right, but it’s often not. By the end though, he manages to be likable if insincere.
What Traveller does have going for it is a good leading man performance from Bill Paxton, an utterly fantastic supporting turn from James Gammon and fine direction from Jack N. Green.
And even though McGlynn’s script does have its strengths, whether in plotting or scenes, the relationship between Paxton and Wahlberg (as mentor and protege) never takes off. Traveller‘s about a band of southern Irish con men and the film never shows Wahlberg learn the tricks. Instead, it shows before and after. There’s a significant puzzle piece missing.
McGlynn’s so lazy with naming the characters on screen it’s impossible to identify the heavy who comes into the picture towards the end. That actor (maybe Andrew Porter) is utterly fantastic.
As for the rest of the cast, Margulies is more appealing than she is good. She really has nothing to do. Luke Askew does well as the boss.
Traveller‘s got a great concept, great cast (except Wahlberg) and great crew… but the script’s failings leave them all floundering.
It’s unfortunate; Green, who shoots Traveller too, does an exemplary job.
Photographed and directed by Jack N. Green; written by Jim McGlynn; edited by Michael Ruscio; music by Andy Paley; production designer, Michael Helmy; produced by Bill Paxton, Brian Swardstrom, Mickey Liddell and David Blocker; released by October Films.
Starring Bill Paxton (Bokky), Mark Wahlberg (Pat), Julianna Margulies (Jean), James Gammon (Double D), Luke Askew (Boss Jack), Nikki Deloach (Kate), Danielle Keaton (Shane), Michael Shaner (Lip), Vincent Chase (Bimbo), Andrew Porter (Pincher) and Jean Speegle Howard (Bokky’s Grandmother).