Thursday, October 22, 2015



From IMDB:


Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man - Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) - has ever, or will ever, walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), and aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, Petit and his gang overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan. Robert Zemeckis, the director of such marvels as Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back to the Future, Polar Express and Flight, again uses cutting edge technology in the service of an emotional, character-driven story. With innovative photorealistic techniques and IMAX 3D wizardry, The Walk is true big-screen cinema, a chance for moviegoers to viscerally experience the feeling of reaching the clouds. The film, a PG-rated, all-audience entertainment for moviegoers 8 to 80, unlike anything audiences have seen before, is a love letter to Paris and New York City in the 1970s, ... Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Ratings: 7.8/10 from 13,814 users Metascore: 70/100


The Walk is the true story of a young dreamer, Philippe Petit, and a band of unlikely recruits who together achieve the impossible: an illegal wire walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. With little more than nerve and blind ambition, Petit and his ragtag crew overcome daunting physical obstacles, betrayals, countless close calls and overwhelming odds to beat the system and execute their mad plan. (C) Official Site

Genre: Drama
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
In Theaters: Oct 9, 2015 Limited
US Box Office: $9.2M
Runtime: 2 hr. 3 min.
Sony Pictures - Official Site

Average Rating: 7.2/10 | Reviews Counted: 195
Fresh: 166 | Rotten: 29

Critics Consensus: The Walk attempts a tricky balancing act between thrilling visuals and fact-based drama -- and like its wire-walking protagonist, pulls it off with impressive élan.

AUDIENCE SCORE 85% liked it
Average Rating: 4/5 | User Ratings: 25,090


I think the whole world has seen this scene at least once. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

A story about more than just a high wire act... 

So by now you've probably heard of this little film and know what it's all about but if you haven't then it's about this man named Philippe Petit who when he turned 18 and saw a picture of the yet-to-be-completed twin towers of the World Trade Center decided he just had to stretch a steel cable between the two towers at the very top and walk it. That's it. The film is directed by Robert Zemeckis who also directed the Back to the Future (1985), Back to the Future Part II (1989), Back to the Future Part III (1990), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Forrest Gump (1994) and Castaway (2000) among others, so suffice to say this man knows his stuff. He also wrote it with the help of Christopher Browne.  

The first time he meets the girl he tells her his crazy plan and she doesn't run away. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

The Walk stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt who's been in film such as Inception (2010), Looper (2012), Lincoln (2012), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014) but he'll always be Tommy Solomon on Third Rock From The Sun (1996-2001) to me. JGL prepared for this role by hanging out with the real Phillippe Petit who not only showed him how to be him but also taught him how to walk the high-wire. JGL also had to learn to speak fluent French and pick up a Parisian accent. Pretty impressive, right? 

And then he tells her he needs her to be his backpack while practicing. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

On to the movie which starts off with us meeting Phillipe who is standing on the torch of the Statue of Liberty, he tells us about himself a little and then begins to tell the story of how his little plan to walk a high-wire between the two towers came to be. He calls his plan the coup. As he tells the story we watch flashbacks of the events, from how he learns about tightrope walking from Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) to meeting Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) both of whom were instrumental in helping him prepare for his coup. Along the way we also meet Jean-Louis (Clément Sibony) a photographer who happens to spot him while he was resting on his tightrope and who becomes a good friend, co-conspirator and official photographer as well as Jeff / Jean-François (César Domboy) a friend of Jean-Louis who despite his fear of heights is more than willing to be part of Phillippe's coup. And last but definitely not least, once he arrives in New York and begins his research of the Twin Towers, Jean-Pierre / J.P. (James Badge Dale) a store clerk who happens to understand and speak French when Phillippe and Jean-Louis have a little disagreement on whether to get a wired telecom system or a walkie-talkie as recommended by J.P.

Only a crazy Frenchman would look at this and think, I need to put a cable across there and walk on it. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

The story as I mentioned before is told in flashbacks with Phillippe narrating and guiding us through his adventures and misadventures in executing his coup. The first third or so of the movie felt a tad slow in my opinion but it picked up beautifully once Phillippe arrives in New York to do his reconnaissance of the Twin Towers before the arrival of the rest of the team. And once the team begins the execution of Phillippe's coup my attention was completely on the screen. And the beautiful visuals helped it along too. Zemeckis's use of unique visual styles, CGI and special effect to at times emphasize a particular element in the scene was very interesting. Then of course there's the acrophobia inducing scenes from the top of the Twin Towers and when Phillippe walks the high-wire. I heard quite a few gasps during those scenes and I was watching it on a 3D screen that is nowhere near as good as IMAX.

This is his crew. Everyone looks like you'd expect them to look except for the dude with the Devil mustache and goatee. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

And then there's Gordon-Levitt's portrayal as Phillippe. Since the actual Phillippe Petit himself was there to teach him how to walk the tightrope and give him tips on how to be him I'm guessing short of having Phillippe Petit himself play himself no one else could do a better job. Although at the beginning I found his French a little hard to believe, it didn't sound all that natural to me. It felt sort of forced when compared to the other actors who spoke French in the film regardless of whether they were actually French or not. But once I got used to it and once I was totally immersed in his performance it didn't matter. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a very good actor indeed and getting better all the time in my opinion.

This is when they thought that their whole plan was going to go down the drain. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

And since this is a Robert Zemeckis movie the music and soundtrack was just as good. The score by Alan Silvestri who also scored several of Robert Zemeckis's other films including Forrest Gump was perfect, from the French versions of the songs popular at the time to building the drama and tension during Phillippe's attempt at not being discovered by the guards.

Looks amazing doesn't it. Not at all crazy. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

At the end of the movie I had this one thought, The Walk reminded me of Forrest Gump. Both had the main character narrate the film throughout although in this case you also got to see him far more often than you could Forrest Gump. It is in equal parts a drama and a comedy and although Forrest Gump is a fictional character the situations he finds himself is were very real for those that lived through the era and it's problems and well, The Walk is about a real man and what he did. I felt at the end of The Walk the same way that I had felt at the end of Forrest Gump. That complete and fulfilled feeling at the end of a good story told really well from all aspects.

So what happens when you've walked on a cable stretched and suspended hundreds of feet up in the air several times? Sit down in the middle of course and scare everyone. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

But as you've probably noticed, if you read everything up there, that there were spots, little things that I wasn't all too impressed about and so that's why I'm going to give The Walk a solid 4.2 out of 5. It's a story of an interesting character who did something incredible on an iconic building at a time when no one liked it all that much. 

The one place a policeman won't feel like a hero and try to grab the bad guy. ©Sony Pictures Entertainment

There's another thought I had when the film was over, The Walk is more than just a movie about Phillippe Petit's crazy scheme to get into and to the top of the Twin Towers to stretch a steel cable between the two and walk on it, it's also a tribute to the World Trade Center itself. And I think it's a fitting tribute to that iconic landmark. By taking that moment when the towers went from an eyesore to the people of New York City to something more than just an office building, something amazing in the eyes of Petit it showed us how the Towers became it's own character in a city full of interesting and unique characters. For a while after watching this movie I started thinking about how many other movies shot and located in New York that had at least one scene where those towers weren't in the background somewhere. And almost always there'll be a silhouette of it against the rising or the setting sun. How many other office blocks do you know that's shown up in movies as much as they have? 

Watch the trailer and then go watch it in the cinemas. IMAX if possible. 




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