The 2008 documentary Man On Wire gave us a first hand insight into Philippe Petit and his extraordinary tightrope walk between the World Trade Centre’s twin towers in 1974. Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk truly brings the drama of the astonishing feat to life, made incredibly intimate in IMAX 3D.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Petit, the man who from an early age discovers the rush of danger, and in particular the danger of walking across a high tightrope. The film follows his life as a street performer as he looks for the perfect location to pull off one of the most audacious stunts known to man.
The Walk explores Petit’s blueprint for achieving his dream, dodging the legal ramifications as well as the mental issues that such an act is naturally going to surface. The final act is of the walk itself when all of the build up is brought together for this magnificent set piece.
Having directed the likes of Forrest Gump and Cast Away, Zemeckis is known for his incredibly powerful story telling. The Walk is no different. The movie is delivered to us in his typical heart-warming, light-hearted manner with a wide range of emotions flowing throughout. As one can imagine, the final scene of the walk is tense in the extreme – but in a pleasurable fashion. It is filmed in a way that perfectly balances anxiety and exhilaration – the audience are truly put up on that wire with Petit, capturing every ounce of tension.
The final sequence is the piece de resistance of The Walk – it really is breath taking, but the movie in general is an incredible insight into this unique individual and beautifully brought to us by Zemeckis.