‘Walden’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Will Walden Kill Again?

Emile Hirsch, the actor who rose to fame with movies like The Girl Next Door, and Into the Wild, has been missing in action over the past few years. Well, he has been making some films, but they are not as good as the ones I just mentioned. Hirsch acts like Leonardo DiCaprio, and I have seen the news that they are friends, so there should be no problem. But DiCaprio should avoid seeing Hirsch’s new film Walden, where it looks like he is doing a DiCaprio impression, almost mocking his intense look and insulting his intelligence. Walden is a story about Walden Dean, a devout Christian and a stenographer at the Georgia District Court who works under Judge Boyle. Walden gets news that he is suffering from a brain tumor, and this sparks a change in his mundane life, and he resolves to kill all those who he thinks have escaped justice. Emile Hirsch has done some black comedies; the late Billy Friedkin’s Killer Joe promptly comes to mind, but Hirsch goes for a performance in Walden that risks going overboard every second of this film.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

Walden, apart from praying and typing in Judge Boyle’s court, had one other thing in his life: the typing competition. He wanted to beat the world record of 360 words typed in a minute, and he was getting pretty close. But one day he fainted in court, and the doctor told him that he might have meningioma, a brain tumor that can make people do strange things. Walden, thinking he is dying, tries to make peace with God and contacts his father, Jesse, who was once a stenographer himself. Jesse had turned into a bitter old man, drinking himself to death, and told Wadlen that he was chasing meaningless glory, trying to beat the record. Walden wasn’t going to stop typing, even though it was causing him a lot of stress. The turning point in Walden’s life came when he managed to stop a robbery.


Did Walden Become A Killer Because Of His Illness?

The courage Walden had to hit the robber at the department store can be seen as tied to the strange effects the tumor was having on him. The good thing was that everybody praised Walden, even Detective Bill Kain and Detective Sally, who were pretty impressed by his courage. Walden always maintained a timid demeanor, as if he were just an unimportant fellow—you know, just a nobody at the court—and all this added to the perception of the people around him, who all thought he didn’t have it in him to harm anyone. Walden’s friends included a man named George who had the mind of a 10-year-old, and he suffered from some kind of developmental disorder. Walden didn’t really have a holistic personality to begin with. He did seem to have all the ‘warts’ from the very start, but there were all sorts of idiosyncratic people in the small town, so Walden seemed just fine and dandy when compared to the others.

After the robbery incident, Walden went on to kill two people: Colt, the man who murdered his own daughter, and Nurse Mills, who was accused of torturing her patients. Both had gotten off, and Walden questioned his God about how they could roam free. Now the question is clear: was this ‘new’ Walden, who attacked the robber and killed two people, a result of the tumor, or was his father’s confrontational tone telling him how meaningless his life was the main factor that pushed Walden over the edge? The reasonable answer would be that both were responsible. But the tumor was probably not the primary factor. The fact that Jesse called Walden out, as he had no life apart from the job and the typing, must have triggered a deep-seated emotion in him that drove him to want to do something significant. The tumor might have given him agility and courage, altering his perceptions and strength.


Why Did Emily Leave Walden?

Apart from Jesse’s indifferent attitude towards him, Walden’s other traumatic relationship was with his deceased mother. She had died when she was a child, but whatever little time she did spend with him was marked by Walden’s yearning for her love and affection. Maybe that was why Walden wanted to beat the world record. Firstly, he might have felt that he was not good enough to receive love and that he had to achieve something huge to receive her love, and secondly, Jesse had not helped Walden one bit in helping him understand that his mother was a bad woman and it wasn’t his fault that she was hostile towards him.

Becoming a murderous vigilante made him feel good, and Judge Boyle had even issued him a gun for self-defense, fearing the robber might come to attack him. Walden’s confidence had improved, and it seemed that he was defying what his father saw him as. Emily, the second-best typist in the competition, became his girlfriend and showed him her rich lifestyle. Walden was unmoved by all that jazz, and when Emily found out that he kept the records of all the cases in his house, including a file where he had written about his childhood, she felt suffocated and overwhelmed. She thought she knew who Walden was, but she didn’t. She made the sane decision to leave him, and Walden didn’t stop her, for he knew it was impossible to explain everything and even more impractical for her to understand.


How Did Walden Figure Out Who The Real Killer Was?

Bill and Sally were working on the case of a serial killer who was targeting kids. He was violating them and then dumping their bodies somewhere, and this came to the public’s notice when an actual dead body was recovered, that of a local boy named Cal. He had a broken rope in his hand, as if torn off from somewhere, in an attempt to escape from the killer. Walden would have continued his search for the killer if he wasn’t stabbed by the two delinquents who were going to rape a woman in a dingy alley. Walden managed to shoot them dead, but he ended up in the hospital. Jesse came to look after him, and that became a time for him to reconnect with his son. But Walden, who was an invisible figure, came to the attention of Bill and Sally, as he seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (or perhaps the right time!) the second time around. With the deaths in the area, Bill and Sally were actually investigating Walden’s friend George, but they grew concerned about Walden as well. Walden came out of the hospital, and he didn’t seem to care anymore. He had told Bill about how George could not be the killer as he lacked the mental capacity to dispose of bodies.

Bill listened to Walden and remembered a peculiar thing that George used to say about Judge Boyle’s cases—that they were going to see a ‘very bad man,’ even if the accused was a woman. Walden didn’t really suspect Judge Boyle of the heinous crimes, but when he saw the torn rope from the backseat of Boyle’s car, he knew that George’s ‘bad man’ was not the accused, but Boyle himself. George knew about this because he used to play with the kids who were murdered, and they told him that Boyle called them to a strange place where he paid them to ‘have fun’. Walden went on to confront Boyle and make him confess. Walden made Boyle commit suicide, and Walden received a visit from Bill and Sally. They seemed to know that Walden was the vigilante they were looking for, as he had gotten so consumed by the crimes around him and had been present at crime scenes. They couldn’t do anything because there were ‘witnesses’ who had come forward to save Walden, as they saw him as a good man who couldn’t kill anybody. During the ending of “Walden,” Walden Dean, the unassuming stenographer, received news that an alleged serial killer had received bail, and Walden’s face clearly showed his resolve to track this man down. So, even though Walden had been warned by Jesse, who was a very intelligent man himself, that Bill and Sally were onto him, Walden wasn’t going to stop any time soon. The tumor might kill him, and perhaps that was why he was on his way to kill as many violent people as possible who didn’t deserve to live according to him. Now Walden could type 359 words per minute—just one word short—and with the next murders, he might break that record.


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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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