This isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, but it may be the one that made my butt the most numb. The inanity of the artsy pretensions on display here is nearly paralyzing. What with the novels he writes on the side and his perpetual coffee-house goatee, actor Ethan Hawke has always seemed too eager to indulge in his inner bohemian. Chelsea Walls, which Hawke directed, overdoses on that indulgence. Shot on murky digital video in New York City’s Chelsea Hotel – onetime home of Dylan Thomas, Leonard Cohen and Arthur Miller – the movie jumps from room to room, each one a hotbed of
artistic angst. You get the feeling Hawke is more fascinated by the lifestyles of the likes of Thomas and Cohen than their work. As for his own work, it’s stultifying. As these and other characters drone on and on, Chelsea Walls churns out the sort of meandering babble normally reserved for closing time. Here Hawke’s the bartender, and for 108 minutes you’ll desperately wait for him to finally declare last call.