The latest addition to Adrian Buitenhuis’s ‘I AM…’ series provides an intimate look at the life of Paul Walker, the Hollywood actor who was tragically killed in a car accident in 2013. Walker shot to fame as Brian O’Conner in the Fast and Furious franchise, and gained a huge following, mainly made up of screaming girls desperate for a smile from the blonde haired, blue eyed heartthrob. However, this documentary shows that there was much more to Walker than good looks. His friends and family touchingly remember Paul as a devoted family man, who was willing to do anything for those close to him.
Buitenhuis brings us home videos of Paul from a young age, and it is clear why his angelic looks made him a desirable candidate for commercials. We watch as he grows into an adult, and the way his life changed when he realised he was going to be a father in his early 20s. Acting was never a passion for Walker, rather a way to make ends meet, and we watch as he struggles to balance his work with his home life. After the birth of his daughter, Meadow, he became devoted to being a present father that he sacrificed a lot of his professional obligations. He distanced himself from the spotlight and began spending time working with sharks, which he said was the happiest time of his life
What is striking about Walker is how much he was loved. When he died, we all witnessed the devastation from the fans of Fast and Furious, but his friends and family describe the pain of losing someone who was so kind and genuine that it was almost to his detriment. Tyrese Gibson heartbreakingly describes his late friend as “the nicest man on human feet”.
The candid interviews and the never-before-seen footage of Walker behind the scenes, with those he was closest to, provides a moving and intimate look at an actor who was private, and therefore difficult to understand. Rather than focusing on a sparkling selection of A-list friends, Buitenhuis interviews people that have known Paul for the longest, who knew him before the fame, and therefore were most important to him. It doesn’t concentrate so much on the actor, rather the father, the son and the best friend, and that’s what makes this such a touching film.
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