Feel like watching a tense sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat yet humorous film about an egotistical yet inspiring high-wire artist that risks his life (quite literally) to make his dream come true? And that crazy dream happens to be walking a wire between the Twin Towers in 1974?
Then go to see The Walk, a recently released film which stars Joseph Gordon Levitt as Philippe Petit and is directed by Robert Zemeckis (whose work includes Forrest Gump, Castaway and the Back to the Future films).
Philippe’s story is told by Philippe (Levitt) himself, as the film starts with him talking directly to the camera, to the audience, while stood on Lady Liberty’s torch (naturally). Based on a true story, we see Philippe’s love of performing for small crowds in France, juggling fire torches and walking across his beloved wire between trees and lampposts.
And then one day, while sat in a dentist’s waiting room, he comes across a picture of the World Trade Center which was not yet finished being built. While looking at the magazine article, an idea begins to form and grow in his mind, and Philippe soon becomes adamant on his plan: he will be the first man to walk across the void between the Twin Towers.
Now such an idea can’t become reality without practise (and a lot of it), some dedicated people willing to help, and a plan formed in order to avoid the police/construction workers/a jail sentence (it was an illegal act after all, breaking hundreds of city laws).
The rest of the film focuses on Philippe bumping into his accomplices by chance, one by one, until he finally has a ‘coup’ ready to put their plan into action. Philippe must conquer personal doubts, doubts from his friends, physical injuries, setbacks and obstacles – all to achieve what no man had ever done before.
Philippe is arrogant and all ego – at times you could see just how much he lived for the applause of his audiences and the potential of worldwide fame. He ignores the advice of those that care about him the most. He doesn’t even consider to thank his coup for their hard work and dedication, instead constantly repeating the plan over and over to them, almost as though he doesn’t believe that they are as dedicated to the cause as him.
And yet despite his arrogance, we can’t help but admire him and his dedication. Despite the obstacles he faces, Philippe reaches the roof of the Tower and, with the help of his coup, he’s able to set up his cables and begin the performance that could easily cost him his life. Choosing to go without a safety clip, one slip and Philippe’s mission could become headline news for all the wrong reasons.
Dramatic and funny, a warm film also filled with rising tensions, and a movie not for those with an intense fear of heights (I went to see it in 3D, and although it heightened the experience as he stepped off the Tower and onto the cable it was very nervy watching it!), The Walk was a great film. Don’t believe me? – watch the trailer below if you haven’t already seen it: