The Walk (2015)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume Baillargeon
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Written By: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 2 hr 3 min
What is art? It’s in the eye of the beholder, and the heart of its creator. The product of an evolved intelligence. Engineered, painted, drawn and performed to entertain and inspire.
Philippe Petit’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) dream to suspend a wire between the Twin Towers was the ultimate expression of that ideal. And Robert Zemeckis’ film does a wonderful job communicating that message to its audience. The Walk is a love letter to creatives. An homage to Futurists who broke the rules and followed their artistic dreams. Exploring their crazy ideas and skills, no matter how impossible it seemed.
Prior to taking my seat in the theater, I did wonder about the entertainment value of a two-hour movie based on an already well documented true life story (James Marsh’s award-winning 2008 documentary, Man on Wire). But the time spent leading up to the movie’s titular event is well spent, setting up Philippe as the passionate leader assembling his loyal team of supporters.
The Walk delivers all the excitement and adventure you’d expect to find in a good heist movie. The team building, setbacks and near misses. Doubts, betrayal and friendship. Zemeckis and his team have managed to ‘balance’ (sorry) their production perfectly between factual story telling, and the audience’s entertainment expectations.
I do however, have one bone to pick with this film. Why oh why was there so much narration? They just could resist having the Frenchman narrate the story from the statue de la Liberté! The incessant and mostly unnecessary voice-over dialog stopped this good film from being great.
From other reviews I’ve read, it seems the general consensus is – if you’ve watched the Man on Wire documentary, you’ve already seen the best version of this story. Expect a slow-ish but interesting build up, with a huge payoff at the end.
This film is designed to be a 3D experience, and is probably best enjoyed in a 3D theater. As long as you don’t mind heights! The film’s impact will be diminished at home on a TV, laptop, tablet or phone.
The entire movie builds to the moment Philippe steps out on the wire, and it is amazing to watch. The closing shot/love letter to the Twin Towers was also a classy touch.