The Walk

2015-10-09 10:24

What it's about:

In this true-story a French street performer - with an ego larger than the Eiffel Tower - dreams of walking a high wire between the two tallest buildings in the world (in 1974). Is he crazy enough to make it work or does pride come before a (multiple story) fall?

What we thought:

This movie felt like someone pushed me off of a ledge but then snapped me back up before I hit the ground with an invisible bungee cord. In short: it was nerve racking but the thrill was worth it.

My favourite part was how they made me feel that: through a collage of imperfect parts.

First the script (based on Petit’s book To Reach the Clouds). It starts off with a romantic origin story then quickly moves into an action adventure romp with high and lows better than a rollercoaster. Which is not an easy thing to do in an age where so many have tried to do that and failed (yes I am talking the Star Wars prequels). There are cheesy parts but most of the time it’s funny and smart.

Character depth and development was only really there for the protagonist: Philippe Petit (Gordon-Levitt). He is sometimes hard to like but because - at the very least - you understand why he is the way that he is it works. That being said, I do wish that some of the supporting cast especially Annie (Le Bon) - his girlfriend - were a little bit more fleshed out. Their relationship is multilayered and fascinating but never really unpacked or viewed from her perspective. I understand that the story is told from his point of view but I was left feeling a little itch there that they could have scratched but didn’t.

Special effects and direction: I was lucky enough to watch it at the IMAX theatre in 3D and it was wonderful. I don’t usually swoon - except about Beyoncé - but it was wonderful and I want to have a commitment ceremony to those ultra-plush seats. Sorry went off track there. Director Robert Zemeckis recently told Vanity Fair that his entire career has been preparation for The Walk and in moments I can feel that. There is fine detail there, like embellishments on a structural beam, which were wonderful.

The 3D is not big and hit you over the head like a regular action film but instead adds depth and perspective. So that you feel as if you are viewing the world from a high wire.

The music: yes this might not be something that you notice because it’s not a soundtrack by Miley Cyrus that will top the charts but this is worth noting because the soundtrack often created a bridge between the light and dark moments. As I said before the movie swings from deadly serious to the whimsical and without Alan Silvestri’s subtlety I think that those peaks and valleys would be a lot more jarring.

Last but not least is Joseph Gordon-Levitt performance as Philippe Petit. It’s very hard to quantify it or even dissect it because it transcends the screen. He suspends your disbelief.

Should you go see it? Listen this movie isn’t for everyone. No movie is. There are people in this world who don’t like adventures with crazy dreamers and they should not watch this film.

If you are crazy enough to like it there is also a documentary that I loved called Man On A Wire about this that you might enjoy. One thing I would add is maybe don’t watch it before you watch this because: spoiler (and yes it’s based on a true story so you could Google and find more spoilers on his Wiki but I’m trying to help you so don’t be a smartass).

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