We saw this movie on Christmas Eve. With enough time to spare before the much-awaited Noche Buena, I suggested that we turn on the TV in the living room of the Tud family and watch something. There was a flash drive already inserted and, after a few minutes of careful deliberation, Kate, Bem, Hawe, and I agreed to see Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk.
The film is based on the true story of tightrope walker, Philippe Petit. While there have been several men on the moon, Mr. Petit holds the distinction of being the only man ever to cross the roofs of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. On August 7, 1974, Philippe realized his lifelong dream of conquering the void between the two buildings. He traveled from Paris, France to New York City and recruited some people to help him achieve this feat.
I really liked Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance as the high-wire walker. Just ignore his funny French accent and he showcases why he is one of the best actors of his generation. Ben Kingsley also delivers as Papa Rudy, Philippe’s mentor in the business. I was greatly touched when he gave his protege an envelope full of cash. Upon opening, it is revealed that he had been saving every bit of money Philippe was paying him for his trade secrets. Charlotte Le Bon’s Annie was also an amazing character. She supported his ambition by following him overseas and setting her own dream of becoming a serious musician aside to assist Philippe. She did not blindly follow, though, as she also served as a voice of reason which balanced out Mr. Petit’s bravado. It would have been cool to see this in IMAX although I’ve read on IMDB that there were some people who got sick just by watching. The director claims that that was never their intention but he wanted to make the audience feel that they were the ones on top of the buildings. That sounds the same to me.
Anyway, this is not a must-watch movie. Rather, I recommend watching it if you have some free time. Philippe Petit’s story is inspiring even for those of us who will never spend their lifetimes doing acrobatic stuff. The shots are also well-made which is what you would expect from a man of Zemeckis’ caliber. There are some funny bits in the film, just a touch of romance, and lots of drama. Watching Philippe’s team infiltrate the World Trade Center was also loads of fun. To end, let me quote Mr. Petit:
‘People ask me, “Why do you risk death?”. For me, this is life.’