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
While attending Columbia University from 2000 to 2004, Joseph Gordon-Levitt studied French poetry and became an avid Francophile. He already spoke French before he began working on this movie. See more »
The injured foot of Philippe should have left more blood on the wire than actually appeared in the movie, where blood is seen on the wire in only one of two shots. See more »
"Why?" That is the question people ask me most. Pourquoi? Why? For what? Why do you walk on the wire? Why do you tempt fate? Why do you risk death. But, I don't think of it this way. I never even say this word, death. La mort. Yes of okay, I said it once, or maybe three times, just now... But watch, I *will* not say it again. Instead, I use the opposite word. Life. For me, to walk on the wire, this is life. C'est la vie.
[now standing in the torch of the Statue of Liberty]
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Crowd-pleasing popcorn entertainment with miraculous visual effects
To learn about and understand the life of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, who illegally performed a high-wire walk between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in 1974, one might be better off with the 2008 James Marsh-directed documentary "Man on Wire". However, "The Walk" is a worthy experience about a dreamer who risked everything to achieve the impossible, and gave the people something beautiful, pure and hopeful.
The film is interspersed with scenes of Phillippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) talking directly to the audience, narrating his life story and the events that led up to his high-wire stunt, or as he calls it – "le coup". This certainly takes away the potential emotional and cinematic impact longer, narration-free scenes would've had on audiences but it served the purpose of moving the story forward swiftly. The first half feels crammed even though it is pretty much by-the-books: we skim through Petit's life leading up to the event without going in-depth. Which is understandable for a reasonable running time as there is a lot of ground to cover.
The unbearably intense second half surely makes up for this. It's taut with thrills and sequences boasting miraculous visual effects. The 30-minute finale is a immersive, transporting and even physical (as evidenced by my sweaty palms) experience that's one-of-a-kind. In fact, I would go so far as to say that there's no point watching the film anywhere else other than at a cinema.
Levitt's passionate performance is commendable and definitely contributes to a sufficiently emotionally satisfying third act. The film also makes it clear that this wasn't a one-man-show by highlighting Petit and his allies' team spirit. With "The Walk", Robert Zemeckis has given us another crowd-pleasing piece of popcorn entertainment.
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