Cinema: Bananas Republic

WALKER

It is one of Hollywood's hoariest traditions: when filmmakers start to tell a historical whopper they place a title card at the front of their picture, solemnly assuring us that what we are about to see is true. The ensuing lies are generally sanitizing, ennobling and inspirational. At the beginning of Walker, its creators cross their hearts and hope to die in the usual manner. But the lying that follows is of a grand and giddy kind -- the stuff of that rarest of movie genres, the mock epic.

William Walker is a figure flitting through the thickets of those...