On August 7th, 1974 French high wire artist Philippe Petit made headlines with his high wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Such an act is feared by most even in the present day but with the right training, observations, and preparation Petit didn't fail to succeed. While he is still known today for his acts, his Twin Towers walk will always be his most famous performance as it was the most dangerous and what first brought him to international recognition. By committing such a bizarre act people think to themselves "How did he do it?" "Why would he risk his life up there?" This film takes audiences into the events leading up to his incredible performance.
The Walk is without a doubt breathtaking. No review of this film would be complete without praising the visual effects. The filming and direction makes each scene in which Petit walks across a wire crystal clear and breathtaking. Just watching him walk gave me chills. The angles and score made his acts thrilling and at times frightening. In fact one scene in which Petit struggles to walk all the way across literally made me jump out of my seat a little bit. Director Robert Zemeckis at times to focus on silence and full attention to Petit rather than suspenseful noise throughout. It made Petit's acts more worth seeing as you never know what is going to happen just like during an actual high wire performance. The views of the several places Petit uses to walk especially of the Twin Towers are just as exciting. Viewers get to witness the beauty of each landmark and how Petit makes each place usable for his acts by being able to see the design process.
Of course I did previously mention that the film features a backstory of the 1974 performance and I must say that is quite an intriguing one. It starts from when Petit first discovers circus arts and starts performing in France to expanding his craft and planning out his famous performance. I won't give much away but I can say that his backstory is full of light hearted humor, sticking to beliefs, following a dream no matter what others thought and finding trust. Petit needed to be comfortable and ready to walk but he couldn't do it without the assistance of the people he befriends while obtaining his dream. They provide the reality yet encouragement for Petit and the backbone for making his performance the way people still remember it today.
Even the acting played a strong role in the success of the film despite the consistent presence of visual effects. Joseph Gordon Levitt was amazing as Philippe Petit. He created a fully developed character full of optimism, wonder, a sense of humor, and yet also nerves that Petit keeps hidden through most of the movie. He completes his performance with an nearly fluent French accent and great skills on the wire. Philippe Petit himself helped Joseph Gordon Levitt walk the wire for most of the movie! He stays true to the character he is portraying. Now while the supporting cast was also strong with humor and accents I do wish that those characters were developed a bit more. With the exception of perhaps Petit's love interest most of these characters appear to have one crucial moment with Petit and that's it. However these gave Petit the push that kept him going. What all of a sudden got them to help a high wire artist? What were they most worried about Petit? Do they wish they got more credit? The supporting characters can each relate to only one of these questions when they real,y should be three dimensional. Nevertheless all of the performances were great, funny and attention grabbing.
I definitely recommend seeing this film. Not only do viewers get to experience spectacular high wire performances but they also learn the development of them. It is a story that will continue captivate all for years to come for both the stunts and for explaining the importance and wonder of landmarks especially the Twin Towers. If you want to witness the impossible then this is one movie to check out.