Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Film Review: "The Walk" (2015).




"People ask me "Why do you risk death?". For me, this is life."
These words tell the story of a wild dream in The Walk. This biographical drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Dita Jaiswal and Zemeckis. It is based on the novel To Reach the Clouds by Philippe Petit. The film tells the story of Philippe Petit. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy, 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 - to walk in the immense void between the World Trade Centre towers.

Philippe Petit may be just a French high-wire artist from Paris, but he gained fame in 1974 for his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, on the morning of 7 August. For his unauthorized feat (which he referred to as "le coup"), he rigged a 450-pound (200-kilogram) cable and used a custom-made 26-foot (8-metre) long, 55-pound (25-kilogram) balancing pole between the towers. He then walked 1,350 feet (400 metres) above the ground and performed for 45 minutes, and during those 45 minutes, he made eight passes on the wire. Immediately afterwards, he was arrested and charged with more than 100 counts of trespassing and other items. However, all charges were dismissed in exchange for his doing a performance in Central Park for children. Then the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey gave Petit a lifetime pass to the Twin Towers' Observation Deck. He autographed a steel beam close to the point where he began his walk. Petit's high-wire walk was credited with bringing the Twin Towers much needed attention and even affection, as they initially had been unpopular. The walk itself became the subject of the documentary film, Man on Wire (2008), by James Marsh; it won numerous awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2009. On stage with Marsh to accept the Oscar award, Petit made a coin vanish in his hands while thanking the Academy "for believing in magic." He also balanced the Oscar by its head on his chin for the audience.

The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, and Steve Valentine. The cast gave exceptional performances. Even though Gordon-Levitt's French Accent was sketchy (to say the least), nonetheless his French was excellent and won my attention, especially with the spine-tingling climax.

In the end, I've never met anyone like Petit in a movie before, and for that matter I've never seen a movie quite like The Walk. Any attempt to describe him and what he did will risk making the movie seem less appealing than it is. I guess, it will be better for people to see it for themselves. It is a magical movie. It has been very well worked out on all levels, and manages the difficult feat of imitating the historical moment itself, even delicately played with an appealingly light touch with a subject so crazy.

Overall, The Walk receives:


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