A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Some human beings are daring individuals, excited and driven by their adrenaline-fuelled passion to reach new heights, break records and boldly go where no man has gone before.
Frenchman Philippe Petit set is sights very high when it came to exercising his talents on a tightrope, but nobody could have ever comprehended what he and a group of friends had in mind upon their arrival in New York in the early/mid 1970’s.
With the intention being to walk across a wire that connected the towers of The World Trade Centre, 2008’s “Man On Wire” explores the heroic, daring and incredible story once again.
Directed by James Marsh (The Theory of Everything), “Man On Wire” is a thrilling documentary that studies what drives a person to achieve their goals, whatever the cost. Petit knew that his intentions were highly illegal, taxing and dangerous, but for the thrill of it all, he was never going to stop until he was 13,638ft off the ground.
Whether it required remaining stone-cold motionless for hours on end under a tarp to avoid security, recovering from a rogue nail puncturing his foot or simply managing the constant risk of death, Petit and his team would never give up.
The structure of the documentary offers a detailed backstory that crafts the character of Petit, painting a clear picture of what sort of man he was at the time and still is today.
His teammates consisted of Jean-François Heckel and Jean-Lois Blonde amongst a couple of others from America and Australia, all of whom feature in the various interviews.
Petit’s primary interview lays the foundation for the story, and it’s not only wonderful to listen to simply for how unique of a story it is, but very Petit’s very impressive English also helps a lot. The archival footage and detailed images add to the experience of the documentary and its visual story-telling ability.
“The artistic crime of the century” is something that one cannot even begin to comprehend, especially in this day and age. Having only ever seen images of Philippe Petit’s death-defying stunt, I had never understood the magnitude of the story and the emotional attachment everybody involved possessed.
This criminal act meant a lot to those involved, so much so that most of them would have risked their lives to make it happen, and through the direction of James Marsh, the audience are able to appreciate every aspect in full.
Documentaries are designed to tell the strangest, the wildest and the most amazing stories we as a species have to tell; “Man On Wire” doesn’t disappoint. It is everything you could ask for in a documentary and certainly reaches the heights of the event itself.
For those interested in seeing the forthcoming Robert Zebecks picture about Philippe Petit entitled “The Walk”, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I highly recommend seeing the truthful account of events before seeing the story in narrative form. Needless to say, it’s something to behold.