Director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) tells the true story of Philippe Petit, a high wire walker with an unimaginable dream, of walking between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
In 1974, French high wire walker Philippe Petit traveled to New York and dared to do the impossible, sneak into the World Trade Center to hook up a wire and walk between the two tallest towers in the world. Joseph Gordon Levitt (Snowden, 500 Days Of Summer) plays Petit and for the most part really pulls off the role other than the distracting fake French accent the actor is forced to perform with. Petit is a mad man, he even says it himself in the film and JGL did a perfect job of portraying both the lunacy and the unrelenting ambition of Petit.
The film starts off in France, and details on how Philippe became a wire walker and how he conjured up his impossible dream. That's really the first half of the film and this is where the film is lacking, there simply isn't enough story to keep you entertained in this first half. What keeps the first half at least watchable is JGL's performance, it's impossible to not feel something towards Petit as his ambition is inspiring, JGL puts so much energy and enthusiasm into the role and whilst it's not the finest work of his career, it's a solid performance. He's told several times that his stunt will never work but he never gives up on trying to achieve his dreams and the film is really about ambition, dreams and what it takes to achieve them, be them big or small.
But what the film builds towards certainly pays off and needs to be experienced on the biggest screen possible. Seeing Petit balance on a high wire between the Twin Towers in IMAX 3D was a visual spectacle. The second half details how Petit and his accomplices (whom get little to no development) got to the top of the tower, set up their rigging and achieved the stunt and it's a very good second half. When the walk actually happens though, Zemeckis unfortunately drags it out and it soon becomes quite tedious. Petit doesn't just do the walk once, in fact he goes back and forth several times and it felt as though Zemeckis was just showing off at this point even if it was historically accurate. The film has a romantic aspect to it between Petit and Annie, a street performer who falls for Philippe. Their relationship is never fully realized and ends up feeling like an afterthought.
Cut between scenes of the planned stunt is Petit stood atop the Statue Of Liberty talking to the audience and explaining almost everything to us. These are the scenes which really do not work other than the final one which served as both a testament to what Petit did and a heartwarming tribute to the Twin Towers without ever mentioning the 9/11 attacks.
What Zemeckis really pulls off is his ability to make us doubt that the coup ever actually happens, so much goes wrong and the mission seems so impossible that even though we know the walk will happen, we're constantly rooting for it to happen which makes the pay off all the more rewarding.
The Walk isn't Zemecki's finest work but it's a visual spectacle and needs to be experienced on a large screen, I recommend IMAX 3D if you can! JGL's energetic performance, the inspiring message and wonderful tribute to the Twin Towers make The Walk a film worth seeing.
Have you seen The Walk? If so, let me know what you thought of the movie in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97