Cary, NC — The Walk tells the unbelievable true story of Philippe Petit, a French high-wire walker who in 1974 stuck a high-wire between the twin towers of the World Trade Center and performed one of the great death-defying acts of all time.
The film, directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back to the Future), takes a lot of queues from the Academy Award-winning documentary Man on Wire, a film I highly recommend you seek out (it’s on Netflix) whether you see The Walk or not. It proves to be a great source for The Walk, even if it can’t quite reach the heights of that great documentary.
Levitt Has a Weak Accent But Great Talent
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) plays Petit (a real-life cartoon character if there ever was one) with great enthusiasm. Levitt has a lot of background in comedy thanks to his years on the sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun that comes in handy here. It’s not a comedic role, but Petit is larger than life, and Levitt knows just how big to go with him.
I have to admit, though, that his French accent is quite distracting. He never really nails it, but, after a while, I got used it, and it proved to not be a worry.
Film Has a Slow Start
Also, at two hours, the film does take a little while to get going. The preparation of “The Coup,” as the characters call it, is played like a heist film, and, while that is exciting – especially the actual walk sequence – the film simply takes too long to get there.
A little trimming could have gone a long way to fix this.
Afraid of Heights?
Now, when it comes to heights, I like to think that I have a healthy and logical fear of them. It’s not paralyzing in any way – for example, I have no problems flying in a plane or riding a rollercoaster. It’s just that the idea of falling from a dramatic height is, you know, frightening to me. Again, I find this to be a perfectly logical fear.
So, when the film finally gets to Petit’s walk, Zemeckis ramps up the tension to 11, and my normal and logical fear began taking over.
Keep in mind that I’ve seen the documentary, and I know how this story ends. However, Zemeckis uses 3-D to his upmost advantage, and I must admit that there were moments where my palms were sweating it was so exhilarating.
I never found it to be overwhelming, of course, and it all added to the experience. I believe that I felt exactly what Zemckis wanted me to feel.
I will say that, if your fear of heights is extreme, avoid this thing at all costs.
Exhilarating & Perfect for the Big Screen
Those last 45 minutes following the coup and the walk make up for every slow moment before it. I’m really not a fan of 3-D, but, when a director like Zemeckis goes out of his way to use it, I tend to take notice, and man, it’s quite a ride.
See It Big
I highly recommend seeing The Walk in 3-D and on the biggest screen possible. I have no doubt that any other viewing experience will dampen the intentions of Zemeckis. On top of all that, the film displays an optimism for human ingenuity much like last weeks The Martian.
What a great time to go to the movies.