Movies about real life people doing incredible things have the potential to be really great if they are handled properly. Robert Zemeckis returns to the director’s chair with his latest film The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Sir Ben Kingsley that focuses on an amazing feat, but can it capture the death defying nature of it all or will it fall off the wire to its death?
The Walk follows 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 for him to walk on a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the 1970s. This is a fascinating story on its own, but the direction Zemeckis took the story to tell it made it all the more enjoyable. The first section of the film introduces the characters and leads them to the direction of what the film is really about. Once it gets to the point of focusing on the Twin Tower walk it becomes a more heist film of sorts. Seeing them layout the plan and then execute it is a lot of fun to watch. The last section of the film shifts the focus to the payoff which is the walk itself, while still keeping a bit of the heist aspect intact similar to that of the criminals trying to get away with the crime. The cast all do a good job, but this is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s show and he does an excellent job carrying it. He brings a fun and passionate persona to the role while still bringing the needed emotion and focus to bringing Petit to life. Visually the film is stunning using the visuals of the 70s to take the viewer back to this time and coupled with the sweeping view from the top of the towers and his wire make this film just as much an experience as a film.
This is one that should have been seen on the big screen for the real scope of what was accomplished, but still manages to pull off exactly what it sets out to do with any viewing. One aspect that could have brought it down was the insertion of Levitt narrating the story with little segments as Petit, but it actually makes the film feel like more than a normal film and is pretty entertaining as an insight to the man himself. This film features everything you could want in a movie for everyone including passion, emotion, excitement and laughs all wrapped up in one package focusing on easily one of the most insane and brilliance death defying acts of all times.