Movie Review: The Walk


Philippe Petit and his story of walking the wire between the two World Trade Center towards in 1974 was one that I learned about only recently; there's a documentary on Netflix about it too called Man on Wire which I would now like to check out. The Walk is a more Hollywood-ized version of this story, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a fantastic job as Philippe.

Petit (Gordon-Levitt) grows up learning "circus tricks," as his father derisively calls them, and eventually decides he wants to be a wire walker. He enlists the help of circus operator Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), who teaches him how to walk, and also how to set up, the high wire. When Petit sees a picture in a magazine of the yet-unfinished WTC towers one day, he decides to travel to the U.S. to set up a wire there and walk between the two towers; it's going to have to be a covert "coup," as he calls it, though, because there's no way this walk would be legal. With the help of his girlfriend, Annie (Charlotte Le Bon), and some accomplices, Petit and his crew find their way to the top of the towers and begin setting up for the coup; setup must be done under cover of darkness and Petit plans to make his walk around 6am.

I saw this movie in IMAX 3D and the 3D was great, especially during the wire scenes; the IMAX was just okay, so I'd recommend only seeing it in 3D, if you can. Gordon-Levitt was very good in the part of Phillippe Petit, who is actually still alive (he's 66 now), although I didn't know going in to the movie that his character is French and lives in Paris at the beginning of the film. Ben Kingsley and Charlotte Le Bon (The Hundred-Foot Journey) are also both great in their roles, and I foresee some nominations for any combination of these three actors.

Yes, see this movie. It's a little slow in parts, surprisingly, but the wire walking will keep you enthralled, as will the cheekiness of JGL's Petit. As someone who was a teenager on 9/11, it was startling to see the two towers again; they did a great job recreating them, presumably with CGI, although the end of the film will make you feel a little sad too. I'd recommend this movie for anyone who likes a good story, as well as any fans of JGL, as he was Oscar-worthy here and really brought the story to life.

The Walk is currently playing (IMAX theaters only; it expands to non-IMAX on October 9th) and is rated PG with a runtime of 123 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

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