The Walk

by | Oct 21, 2015 | 0 comments

An Irregular Film Whose Last Act Gives Us One of Cinema’s Unique Moments

People go to the movies because they want to experience those rare magical moments, where you’re in the movie and you experience those moments that give you goose bumps. Robert Zemeckis’ latest film, The Walk, might be irregular, but the final act completely takes your breath away, and transports you from your theatre to that magical place.

The Walk is the story of the tightrope walker Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is famous for having walked on his wire between the two twin towers in 1974. The film is a bit of a biographic picture of Petit’s life, how he began walking on his wire, how he met his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon), his mentor Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), and how his ambition came about to walk between the two tallest buildings in the world (at the time).

The film’s story is a bit irregular. The film starts out with Petit narrating from the top of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, and interesting choice. Then the tone seemed to be very parodic so that I took the film to be more of a comedy and making fun of other biography films, but as the story progressed I could sense that Zemeckis was taking this film and the story seriously; so I became confused, the film was indecisive on what tone it wanted to carry out. The film also seemed to be canonizing Petit, so much that they missed a great opportunity to show the dangers and costs of fame (when Petit is seduced and sleeps with another woman right after his walk, so drastic it broke his relationship with Annie). Despite this confused beginning and biased position, the final half of the film in which Petit hangs his wire and walks on it is one of cinema’s most unique moments. Zemeckis, known for breaking the boundaries of visual effects and cinematic perspective (Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, Polar Express) completely achieves his goal of placing us up with Petit on the wire; so successful that I myself suffered from vertigo (it must be stated that this film must be seen in 3D).

The acting is notable, but is mostly overshadowed by the great achievements in the visual effects and editing department. Joseph Gordon-Levitt tried his best, but the problem was that no one could take him seriously with his French accent; despite that one can see that he truly did work hard on this role, which must be commended. I meanwhile was more pleased with Charlotte Le Bon who takes a minor character and, with her little screen time, transmits all of her worries, ambitions, and emotions. So much that she ends up being one of the best parts of the film.

In the end the film’s irregularity is tipped to the positive side by an amazing finale. The film itself ends up being more of a love letter to the Twin Towers than to Petit; the final shot of the Twin Towers in a clear New York sunset illustrates this, so subtly and tenderly that every New Yorker and American is sure to shed a tear.





Visual Effects


Historical Accuracy

What’s the best movie adapted from a documentary? Let me know in the comments section.

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