PG | 123 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
Review - Matt Mungle
**In IMAX houses across the nation on 9/30 and wide on 10/9**
Synopsis: In 1974, high-wire artist Philippe Petit recruits a team of people to help him realize his dream: to walk the immense void between the World Trade Center towers.
Review: There is much about THE WALK to enjoy and be inspired by. It is more than just the reenactment of a walk between two buildings. The infectious spirit of the main character should inspire all of us to grab our passions by the reins and ride them triumphantly into the sunset. Granted of course that your dreams aren't as life threatening and law breaking as these.
Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a French performer always looking for a place to hang "his wire". He is an adventurous soul who, at least as portrayed in the film, is a fearless, positive and upbeat individual. Immediately you are drawn to his charisma and love for life. He lives to entertain. When Philippe sees an article about the new towers being built in NY he is possessed with the desire to string his wire and walk the void between. So with the aid of his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) and a few chosen "accomplices" he journeys to the states to begin this endeavor.
In hind-site the 1970's seem like such a grand time to live. The music, fashion, and freedoms beckon us to put down our mobile devises and truly experience the sights and sounds around us. A story like this could never have taken place now. A covert operation of this magnitude needed the lack of big brother and the ability to move about unseen. Not to do something that is harmful or destructive. But rather to attempt something that is soul stirring and inspiring. Much of that feeling comes through in this film. People were different then. They trusted more.
NY is also a huge character in this film. The Twin Towers have come to symbolize so much in our country. To see them rising above the skyline is moving all on its own. Then to see them at the onset of their creation and watch a man bring them notoriety (maybe not like some would have wanted) and a bit of soul is captivating. Nothing else on earth could match them and they were so impressive that Philippe made them his ultimate performance goal.
The characters in the movie are fun to watch and each so different. As Petit hand picks them to help in his operation you get the sense that nothing is going to work out. It is humorous and realistic though. These aren't trained experts. They are people caught up in the energy and zeal of the man. They want to be involved. As you watch you forget this is a true story; how could anything like this actually happen in the hands of these rag tagged individuals.
To truly see this film one must experience it in IMAX or at the very least in 3D. The aerial shots of the Twin Towers and the expanse between them is breathtaking. You may find yourself holding the sides of your seat and clinching every muscle as Philippe moves about on the roof and eventually his wire. The cinematography is award worthy and takes you to new heights. Pun intended.
The issue some may have is in the extreme use of CGI and obvious fabrication. There is a lot of superimposing - obviously - of the towers. Plus much of the film is as whimsical as Petit himself. This lends to cartoonish scenes and at times comes off as more fantasy than realistic. The voice over of Levitt as he perches on top of the Statue of Liberty to some will be off putting and to others enamoring. regardless you will not be able to downplay the character of Petit and cheer him on through out this fantastic trek.
THE WALK is rated PG for thematic elements involving perilous situations, and for some nudity, language, brief drug references and smoking. That sounds like a lot for a PG film and yes, if it were aimed at younger audiences ti would be. Be this obvious adult story has nothing offensive about it. The language is very mild and the brief nude scene of the male bottom comes near the end at a time when you truly understand the nature of Petit. It is not sexual or lewd at all. But rather funny and as quirky as he is.
I give the film a solid 4 out of 5 salutes. Though many may find nothing intriguing about the story and perceive the film itself as too fanciful; I was inspired and left feeling joyful and had my love of the human spirit rekindled.