All I could think about throughout “The Walk” is whether French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, portrayed by American actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is a nut job, an inspiration, or both!
By the third act, which focuses on the walk itself, I’ve decided he is indeed both. Petit makes the impossible possible and his actions are beyond courageous, but at the same time nobody in their right mind will attempt what he has done for history. Ever!
“The Walk” is directed by “Forrest Gump” director Robert Zemeckis, and it documents a moment in time, specifically August 7, 1974, on a tight rope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. If you’ve seen the Oscar-winning documentary “Man on Wire,” then you know that Petit was successful in this feat. If you hadn’t, then I apologize for the major spoiler. But despite knowing this, you still get the feeling that he may fall to his death. It’s so intense that if you have anxiety, like I do, you may want to have on you a brown paper bag just to catch your breath. Kudos to Zemeckis for making the audience feel up in the air with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I also suggest being sober for the ride up.
Speaking of Levitt, I had to get past his unusual look and french accent. They were at times distracting, but his performance was ultimately fascinating and he brings a lot of emotion and humor. I, or anyone for that matter, can’t quite relate to Petit. Again, nobody in their right mind would attempt such a thing. I don’t really feel bad for labeling him a nut job only because his accomplices, as he liked to call them, also questioned his sanity in both the movie and documentary.
Like the documentary, which could be rented for 99 cents on iTunes now, “The Walk” sort of plays out like a mini heist flick. Obviously, the walk was illegal. I won’t give away what happens to Petit afterwards.
What really took me out of the movie was Petit’s (Levitt’s) narration. And of course he’s far from the ground while doing so. This is where he truly belongs.
The best part about “The Walk” is the walk itself, and the CGI is beautiful. The twin towers are also a main character and you can’t help but get misty eyed at first sight. The movie does a good job with giving you chills and I’d recommend it for its visual splendor.
If you enjoyed “Forrest Gump,” “Cast Away,” and “Flight,” you will enjoy this. Zemeckis knows what he’s doing! And you will definitely walk out of the theater inspired, just as long as your feet remain planted on the ground.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from Philippe Petit, it’s to work for what you want in life. It won’t come to you easy. See it now in IMAX 3D!