“ People ask me “Why do you risk death? For me, this is life” How many of us in life do the things that make us feel alive? Everyday most of us get up, have the same breakfast and make our way to work where we do the same thing to the point where some might call it, not actually living. While some of us might be confused with a character in a Zombie movie, and I don’t mean the living ones, there are people out there who have chosen to do what they love. Philippe Petit was one of those people, and while you try to think who Philippe is, just know that he kind of was a big deal in the seventies.
Philippe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is an artist. He performs on the street of Paris, juggling and entertaining crowds who gather around, but that’s not his true love. The object of Petit’s desire is the tight rope, and he is always looking for a place to put his wire. It is this longing that leads him to the newly constructed Twin Towers, in New York City. Not being able to do this alone, he gathers some collaborators and while preparing for the “artistic crime of the century”, Petit learned everything he could about buildings and construction, while even crossing places like the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. On August 7th, 1974, Petit is accompanied by a group of friends to carry out the “coup”. And hang a wire across the two towers and walk between them some 1350 feet above New York City. For forty-five minutes that day, Petit did the unthinkable and put on a show that many would never forget.
In 2008 a documentary called “Man on Wire” came out, combining actuall footage and new re-enactments, it told the story of Philippe Petit’s trip across the twin towers. The film was critically acclaimed and won an Oscar that year for best Documentary, so the question is, how do you top that? The first thing you do is have Roger Zemeckis direct the film, since he is one of the better storytellers of the last forty years. Then find the right star to play Philippe, which you can never go wrong with Gordon-Levitt. Finally blow people away with the look of the film, and I can honestly say, everything came together perfectly. The film uses narration from Levitt to tell the story, as he stands on the torch of Lady Liberty, with the Twin Towers in the background. While it’s all pretty incredible, the visual aspects of the film take center stage for the second act. I have never seen 3D that looked the way it did in this film, as Zemeckis puts you on the rope with Philippe as he soars about the New York skyline. As you watch in awe, you can’t help but to move up in your seat and wipe the sweat off your palms as you watch this man on a wire. This movie is just a much a love letter to the twin towers as to Petit’s accomplishment, as the towers play such a commanding role during the climax of the film. With “The Walk” Zemeckis hits us the range of emotions a great movie can give you, and this film walks a tight rope to give you the viewer, cinema paradise.