Probably the most underrated film of the year, ‘The Walk’ is a well produced theatrical masterpiece that documents one of the greatest high-wire artists of all time. However, this isn’t the first film to be made about the incredibly illegal act that Philippe Petit performed. Back in 2008, British director James Marsh created a 94 minute documentary of Philippe’s Twin Tower walk using interviews, found footage and skillfully created re-enactments. The documentary is a masterpiece in itself, conveying a series of emotions and detailing the struggle that Philippe and his collaborators went through during the 6 years of planning. ‘Man On Wire’ received an impeccable 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so If you’re thinking of watching ‘The Walk’ then I highly suggest you watch this documentary as well. So the question is, was ‘The Walk’ a balancing act or a leisurely stroll?
Because ‘The Walk’ was more of a dramatised biography of Philippe’s ambition, some of the less important details were disregarded and some parts were even fictionalised to help progress the story. I didn’t mind this, especially because ‘Man On Wire’ did an already amazing job in following Philippe’s story in true detail. In fact I would argue it was the progression of the story that made this film, rather than overly elaborate 3D effects that came as an added bonus. I highly regard this film as in one of my top 5 favorites this year, simply because they managed to create a well balanced, dramatical production that shared elements of action, romance and humour.
You may have seen or heard the name Robert Zemeckis when watching some of the most popular family films to have ever existed. The emotional heartbreak of ‘Forrest Gump’ along with the time travel saga: ‘Back To The Future’ are just a few of the recognised films in his extensive catalogue. As a director, he triumphantly unveiled his knowledge and array of skills by creating a truly astonishing film that was able to create a hopeful perspective of the World Trade Center, one that many had forgotten. Robert felt it was crucial to create this film in association with the Twin Tower attack anniversary as he wanted people to remember and cherish the second most significant event to happen to these buildings. His goal was also to remember Philippe’s contribution to putting this landmark on the map for all the right reasons. In All, Zemeckis did a truly phenomenal act directing this film and although it isn’t his best, it’s certainly award winning.
In truth, I watched this film with minimal expectations and believed it would rely on the gimmick of 3D to propel interest, which is why I refused to pay extra to wear the magical, tri-dimensional goggles which would have sat unwelcome around my head. However to my surprise I was engaged in the story throughout, and the use of 3D, although plentiful, did not deduct from the quality of the film. It’s not often I feel the need to watch a movie in 3D, infact I despise the concept of paying extra for a sub-par experience. I would say I hate it to the extent to where I will argue if anyone suggests we watch a new release in 3D, yet I could actually see the appeal of watching this in 3D due to its elaborate use of this feature and how it enhanced the film.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, best known for his role in ‘500 Days of Summer’, depicted the charming, yet quaint high-wire artist Philippe Petit, and although his French accent was slightly offbeat at times – I felt that he portrayed this role in the best of his abilities, creating a lovable and sincere character with a plethora of ambition. French-Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon played Philippe’s love interest Annie. I really wouldn’t say she did anything outstanding, she played a companion well but it really lacked diversity from any other film that includes a lover/partner. At times it seemed that her accent would do magic tricks and mysteriously disappear, making it hard for the audience to decipher where this character originated from. Ben Kingsley who has been in films such as ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Iron Man 3’ played the reluctant father figure Papa Rudy that coached Philippe on his journey. Kingsley usually chooses the villainous roles in his work and although Papa rudy was portrayed as a guidance to Philippe, it was clear that Kingsley added hesitation and doubt to the character to create this opposition towards Philippe, especially in the scene where he wants to do the walk without a safety line however Papa Rudy battles this ridiculous statement.
To my surprise this film was full of action. infact, my favorite part of this movie was the planning and setup of this stunt. There was plenty of suspense and action that genuinely had my eyes locked onto the screen. The stealth like action reminded me somewhat of the ‘Mission Impossible’ franchise which is probably why I found it so enjoyable. The use of tension worked ridiculously well and it was hard to predict what was going to happen next. In my opinion a great film is always unpredictable and the story should surprise and shock the audience from time to time, if it fails to do this then it’s simply a poorly produced movie, that lacks audience attention. ‘The Walk’ has received very positive reviews across the board with most of them detailing how it managed to astonish viewers with it’s story.
This film carried a very controversial topic, in which I applaud director Robert Zemeckis for tackling. He managed to share one of the Twin Tower’s greatest moments on the anniversary of one of it’s worst. This movie did a great job of appreciating Philippe’s contribution, sharing an inspirational story of ambition and triumph. Honestly, it’s shocking to think that Philippe Petit walked 1,362 feet in the air across the two towers without a harness and is still alive to tell the story. I respect the emotional message that Zemeckis shared throughout this film,especially nearing the end when the twin towers fade out, with the gleam from the sun reflecting onto the building, giving it a yellow tinge in the centre. I assume it represents the fire that bellowed from these towers after the planes crashed into them. It was a little nod of respect to the families and people who suffered during these attacks and I respect Zemeckis for acknowledging this terrible event.
so was this film struggling to balance? At time the progression of the plot felt slow however the story really made up for it. I was genuinely surprised at how enjoyable Philippe’s story was. 3D did take a priority however that didn’t alter my enjoyment of the story, in some cases it added to Unfortunately sales for this movie have been slow since its release. when I visited my local odeon the screening was practically empty, with only a few seats filled. it’s a shame to see such an exceptional film do so poorly. I urge you to watch this film the next time you go to the cinema because it really is under appreciated. ‘The Walk’ is a great film with a inspirational story which is why i’m rating it a 7/10.
Make sure you follow me on Twitter @watchesfilms. I also have a Giveaway you can enter to win a copy of mad max. be sure to LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE this post!