Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Walk (2015) - 9 stars out of 10

The Walk (2015) - 9 stars out of 10

“The Walk” is a fascinating biopic about Philippe Petit and his infamous high wire walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center.  First, it is incredible to see the towers rightfully returned to their dominating position in the New York City skyline.  More importantly, it is refreshing to see a film that pays tribute to these towers without shifting focus to their destruction.  I have always loved the documentary “Man on Wire” and director Robert Zemeckis’ film has brought the story to life again with a unique style.  The narrative between Petit and the audience feels very personal, as if we are sitting down with this man and getting a personal account of his story.  I love the casting of Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the lead role.  He fully dedicated himself to this film by studying tight rope walking (with Petit himself) and performed many of his own stunts on ropes over 10 feet off of the ground.  He is the perfect embodiment of Petit, especially once you hear his spot-on Parisian accent.  He also learned to speak French fluently in order to seamlessly transition between languages throughout the film and, by the midway point of the movie, you will forget that you ever heard him speak any other way.  He is supported by enjoyable performances by Ben Kingsley and Charlotte Le Bon.  This year’s Oscar competition may be too stiff to expect a nomination for Best Visual Effects but the recreation of the World Trade Center from so many different angles is stunning.  I did not anticipate the film being this tense.  My stomach was in knots for the entire wire walk sequence.  This film has an amazing ability to transport us to the top of the World Trade Center and put butterflies in our stomach every time that Petit looks over the edge.  It has the elements of a great caper/heist/mystery/adventure film, and it all actually happened!  I appreciate that this is a mature film that is clean enough to carry a PG-rating.  It would be nice to see quality, family-friendly films more often.  “The Walk” tells an inspirational story about one man’s determination to chase the most impossible of dreams and is worth seeing for its excellent acting and idealistic look at the World Trade Center.

[Pictured: The special effects are so impressive.  It is surreal.]

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