As a boy, Philippe Petit dreams of performing daring feats for dazzled crowds. As an adult (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his life's ambition comes true when he becomes a high-wire artist who stares death in the face with every step. Under the guidance of mentor Papa Rudy, the daredevil devises a plan to walk on a tightrope attached...more
As a boy, Philippe Petit dreams of performing daring feats for dazzled crowds. As an adult (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his life's ambition comes true when he becomes a high-wire artist who stares death in the face with every step. Under the guidance of mentor Papa Rudy, the daredevil devises a plan to walk on a tightrope attached to the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. With help from his team and against all odds, Petit attempts the seemingly impossible stunt on Aug. 7, 1974. less
“Breathtakingly shot, The Walk defines what 3D is made for.”
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Philippe Petite (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) had a thing for ropewalking right from his childhood, a passion that sees him being evicted from his own house by a disgusted father. Yet, he is supremely content, pulling off jugglery tricks in Paris. One day, he sees a photo of a proposed construction, that of the Twin Towers - 450meters and he immediately knows the purpose of his life, to walk across from one tower to the other. He decides to seek help from Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), a high-wire artist himself who mentors him. Philippe finds Annie (Charlotte Le Bon), a musician and with her travels to the land of his dreams, New York. There he finds more accomplices and plans a heist-like event - stringing a hire wire from one tower to the other and walking on it in full public stare. In 1974, when the towers are near construction, he plans this adventure and picks August 6th as the perfect day. He puts together a team, the most loyal being a photographer who has been with him for a while. And so starts the build up to the climax - the actual walk.
There was an interesting choice Robert Zemeckis, the director had to make. Should the movie be an edge of the seat thriller considering it was almost a heist tale? No. Instead he turned into a comic narrative. French accent of Philippe would narrate the story - Joseph standing atop the Statue of Liberty talking about his advennture. As a result, the audience gets some entertaining moments right through. However, the comical structure undermines the act itself, literally taking away the thrill of that superhuman act. Philippe doesn't walk the wire once but does it several times to elude cops on either side. It is almost as if he was unable to resist the temptation of the wire. The cinematography during those moments is sublime too and in 3D you get some stunning visuals, especially of the skyline, the high-tension wire and the enormity of the act as the camera moves around the wire as he walks the dangerous walk.
The movie is enjoyable but the flow is not seamless. Papa Rudy for example, comes to New York to help him decide on how to string the wire and support it, so it remains taut and then disappears. The accomplices don't fit the bill in that they are not serious about the colossal act and some of them ditch midway. While some of it might be true, it turns comical on the scene, something that takes away from the story instead of showing how passionate Philippe was to carry on amidst all odds and how amazing his friendship with Jeff and Jean-Louis, his photographer was, as they stick with him despite their own concerns and the risk of being arrested. The movie also disregards the character buildup as you watch Philippe being a good-natured guy proud of his artistry turn into an almost psychotic, obsessed person misbehaving with his own beloved after all the support she offers him. Those transitions, from the phase where he conjures a dream to the phrase where he plans it and finally executes it, are not smooth. All in all, it is a reasonably entertaining movie, which I would have preferred to be less comical and more thrilling.