The Walk – 4 out of 5
About six or seven years ago, I found out about a documentary that involved a man who illegally did a tightrope walk across the Twin Towers in New York back in the 70s. I’m a big fan of documentaries (by the way, in case you are wondering, I don’t review them here on my blog because docs are just too daunting to review) and being a big fan of these types of films, I eagerly sought out a copy of this doc, called Man on Wire, and was blown away with the guts and drive that artist Philippe Petit showed in creating a spectacle of wonder, horror and amazement. When I first saw the trailer for Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of these events called The Walk, I was very excited to see this story get the dramatic treatment.
|This man is a National Treasure! Why aren't we all worshiping him yet?|
|For his next trick, he'll wrestle the Statue of Liberty|
in a cage match.
In 1973, French street performer Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) finds inspiration strike him at the strangest time—while at the dentist. He reads an article that talks about the construction of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. He decides that he is going to illegally walk a tightrope spanning the length of the towers and quickly throws together a team of accomplices—that includes his fellow street performing girlfriend; Annie (Charlotte Le Bon), a photographer named Jean-Louis (Clémen Sibony) and a man named Jeff (César Domboy); who, unfortunately, has a crippling fear of heights. With the guidance and help of the man who taught Petit how to walk the wire; Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), the man’s artistic endeavor—which he calls an artistic coup—begins. Eventually, they get to New York and start to work out the logistics, going undercover to get all the details of the building, the people in it and all the exact measurements. There, Petit gains a few more accomplices—including an inside man—and, under the cover of darkness in the early days of August 1974, Petit and his team secretly enter the towers and hope to accomplish one of the greatest feats of astonishment the world has ever seen!
|See, he plans. For example, if it was me, I would have planned to not do it because|
I'm lazy and very, very, very scared to die.
The story of how Petit’s walk was executed is already amazing—pretty much as amazing as his actual stunt. I was captivated when I watched the documentary and how they did it and Robert Zemeckis brought this to life in this dramatic retelling in a fun, slick, created and engaging way. The way JGL tells the story as Petit while atop of the Statue of Liberty made for a fun narrative that kept the story flowing and really fun. Additionally, Zemeckis really created some unbelievable visuals that are gorgeous at times and palm sweating-ly terrifying as he (and the visual effects team) perfectly encapsulates the size, scope and, most terrifying, the height of how far up Petit was during this amazing activity.
|Yep, my palms are sweating just looking at this picture.|
Finally, the performances from the entire cast are all amazing. It’s no surprise that JGL is incredible because that guy is great in everything he does but he continues to prove that he’s an actor that you lose yourself in with his character and performance and I just believed him to be Philippe Petit—interesting fact, JGL actually learned to tight rope walk from Petit himself…that’s just cool. The rest of the cast all provided excellent backup and really helped bring to life Petit’s team and those who helped him (or arrested him for what he did).
|"It'll be just like this...now let's figure out how to turn me into a paper man."|
The only complaint I had for the film was the fact I wanted to see a little more from the accomplices. Due to the reality that Annie, Papa Rudy and Jean-Louis were there from the start in France they have pivotal roles that result in extended amounts of screen time and developments of the characters. Additionally, one of Petit’s American accomplices—J.P. (played by James Badge Dale), a French-as-a-second language speaking electronic salesman—gets a lot of screen time but others, such as the inside guy (played by Steve Valentine) and the final two members played by Ben Schwartz and Benedict Samuel, are just sorta there. They have their role to play but have very limited amounts of screen time and I would have definitely liked to have seen more from them. However, the film is entirely about Petit, his point of view and the walk he did so wanting to see more from the accomplices is more of a personal desire and it’s not something that really hurt the overall film.
|Greenhouse's facial hair alone should have warranted a bigger role for the character.|
The Walk, simply, is a fantastically crafted film that features a very fun, perfectly dramatic, and partially terrifying story—look, I’m not afraid of heights but that doesn’t mean I have to like them or even be friends with them…our relationship is more of a mutual respect—as in respecting each others privacy and keeping our distance. Just like the documentary perfectly tells Petit’s incredible story (I highly recommend that documentary), The Walk perfectly shows it. All-in-all, the feature is a very entertaining and very engaging film.
|Dude, I can barely walk on a sidewalk and not fall. I'd be dead the moment|
I looked at the damn wire.