A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
Produced By: Tom Rotham, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
Written By: Anurag Shukla (Screenplay), Philippe Petit (Novel)
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Sir Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon
Running Time: 123 Minutes
From the soaring highs of Flight to the crippling lows of Cast Away, Robert Zemeckis has dealt with the inherent fear of falling in many of his renowned pictures. The masterful director’s latest outing sees him depict yet another high-rise story of one man defying the odds, however with The Walk, Zemeckis has pursued something very much unique.
Depicting the true events of Philippe Petit and his high-wire stunt between the two towers of The World Trade Centre back in 1974, Zemeckis has incorporated IMAX technology, 3D craftsmanship and a vision of his own to create an immersive, suspenseful “experience”.
Said to be the “artistic crime of the century”, the incredible coup d’értat performed by Petit and his accomplices is one of the most extraordinary achievements in modern history. The Walk brings the full story of Petit’s life to the big screen in narrative form as Joseph Gordon Levitt portrays the flamboyant, arrogant and incredibly gifted performer throughout many chapters in his life, all the while breaking the fourth wall to guide us through his amazing journey.
The film is based upon Petit’s 2002 book To Reach the Clouds and borrows heavily from the award-winning documentary Man on Wire (2008), in which the story is retold through interview and picture form. The Walk is the first motion picture devoted to Petit’s performance and for many reasons; it’s a very important film to emerge from 2015.
Albeit tense, thrilling and frightening, the film is a light-hearted, family friendly affair that possesses a joyful, optimistic tone. When dealing with such a landmark as The World Trade Centre, a structure that has sadly become synonymous with death, tragedy and despair, the approach to The Walk reminds audiences of their glory, their importance and just how magnificent they were.
The Walk is a celebration of the Twin Towers and will no doubt introduce younger audiences to a positive side of them they may never have seen before. Dedicated to the victims of the September 11 attacks, The Walk appreciates the beauty in not only Petit’s art, the construction of the buildings, but the city of New York too.
There are no consequences within the film, and although certain aspects are not covered and events occur differently to how they did in real life, it’s irrelevant when considering what works best for the film and the way it will showcase two of the worlds most important, inspiring structures.
Visually, The Walk is incredibly powerful without the 3D spectacle. There are obvious places where the additional dimension would benefit the experience, however if you’re not too big on heights, the 2D will test your limits enough.
The first two acts that explore the journey pre-performance aren’t reliant on the 3D as much, but when the third act rolls around and it quite literally comes down to the wire, the 3D would come into its own without a doubt. The effects are stunning; capturing the incredible adventure from unimaginable angles and depth, this is an archetypical, cinematic picture.
Not only are you looking at the terrifying depths from up on the wire, you are taken to ground level where the on looking public’s necks are aching in amazement, all the while looking from even higher than Petit himself through, multiple, cruel, bird’s eye view shots.
For the squirmy, nervous or downright terrified when it comes to heights, The Walk may not be your cup of tea, however it’s one to brave and experience for the significance of the event alone.
From “Run, Forest, Run!” to “Walk, Philippe, Walk!”, Robert Zemeckis’ latest vision is again an astonishing piece of technological brilliance that squeezes the full potential out of every effect on offer. For an audience member, along with a enormous amount of vertigo, The Walk gives you an insightful, celebratory account of the human spirit and the lengths we are capable of going in the name of expression, art or simply goal-setting.
The Walk retells the incredible story of one tremendously lucky Frenchman and his wire, but what the film stands for at large is something very special and should be witnessed in it’s full, theatrical glory.