The Walk is a film that gave me vertigo, and I mean that in the best way possible. Telling the true story of Phillipe Petit, the man who walked a tightrope between the New York twin towers, this film does justice to him and his daredevil stunt; whose inception and execution was first showcased in the award-winning documentary “Man on Wire”. Although the documentary itself was fantastic piece of filmmaking, the footage of the stunt (or “the greatest artistic coup of the century” as Mr Petit likes to call it) itself was limited to photographs and third-party videos shot by spectators on the ground. This is specifically where “The Walk” shines. The last 17 minutes of this film, especially when viewed on an IMAX screen, which this was clearly made for, is enough to make one nauseous, nervous and amazed all at the same time; and as silly as it may sound, this film does for tightrope walking what “Gravity” did for space. Robert Zemeckis, who directed this film and who is, along with Steven Spielberg, one of the two directors responsible for shaping my cinematic interests, brings his full visual prowess to this film; Making the climax one of the most riveting ever to be put on film; which, if you think about it, is actually a feat considering that most people know what happens in the end. That’s why this film is visual storytelling at it’s finest.
What about the hour and a half that precedes this visual miracle though? Well, for starters, the film is constructed as a heist film, with Phillipe Petit (Played exceptionally well by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and his ragtag group of friends planning out the stunt in meticulous detail whilst simultaneously evading the law (Tightrope walking between the twin towers wasn’t exactly legal, if you must know). There’s a whimsical and jovial air around this film that makes it all the more endearing, but there are also times when the film clearly drops quite a bit in it’s pacing and this drop can certainly be felt, but fortunately enough, It doesn’t take away much from the spectacle that this film has to offer.
It should also be said that the film, apart from being a biopic of sorts, is also a homage to the twin towers themselves and it pays tribute to these structures in the most beautiful way possible. So much so that, even if you aren’t an American, it would be enough to make you contemplate and mourn the horrible events of 9/11; although the film makes the wise decision not to allude to them directly.
The Walk informs, entertains and thrills in the best possible way, and definitely see this in IMAX 3D – I cannot stress it enough.
Money Moment: The last 17 minutes