Movies

Movie Review: The Walk

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Talk about walking the talk.

On a clear summer day in 1974, one man crosses the immense space between the World Trade Center towers.  The only man who has ever accomplished and will ever accomplish such feat.

Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “Premium Rush,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Inception“) narrates the film, perched on  the Statue of Liberty, taking us back to that glorious day.  Gordon-Levitt, sporting a French accent, plays the role with believable zeal.

In the earlier days in France, French street performer Philippe charms a musician, Annie Allix (Charlotte Le Bon) with his flair and quirkiness in the streets of Paris.  Annie becomes his biggest cheerleader to pursue his impossible dream of the high-wire act.

From the trees to the light poles to the grand Notre Dame walk, the time is right at last for Philippe to go to New York.  The construction of towers is almost finished.  He’s also come to learn the ropes of being a tightrope walker from a circus patriarch, Ben Kingsley (“Iron Man 3“).  More than knowing about the right cables, bolts or knots, and obviously having the extreme balancing ability, it’s also about having the right mental attitude.

With Annie as his first “accomplice,” a photographer and a friend, Philippe recruits several New Yorkers, intrigued enough by his insane obsession and ambition, to set the stage for the high-stake wire-walk.

Played like a heist, the team works together covertly; researching the specs of the towers, smuggling and testing equipment, all the while trying to evade security from getting caught.  The all-night rooftop-rigging pays off when the sun comes up and Philippe realizes his dream.   An illegal, crazy dangerous stunt.

Must-see in 3-D, the height and depth dimensions are absolutely incredible, allowing you to experience the wonder of it all.  As if you’re there, witnessing or  walking alongside Philippe, marveling in the sights, feeling the rustling breeze and hearing the traffic noise from a distant.  110-story, 1,350-feet tall.

What a magical walk it was.  There are moments that will take your breath away.  From the first moment when Philippe balances his body, standing with one foot on the ledge of the tower and the other on the wire to finally stepping on with both feet.  No safety net or harness.  And he doesn’t just walk across.  Suspended in the air, he kneels and salutes, feeling the joy and expressing his gratitude.  Sitting and looking down in awe.  Lying down and looking up in peace.  And turning around, shuffling his balance bar in daring mischief, again and again.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the movie is filmed in a whimsical, hyper-realism style, reminding me a bit of Martin Scorsese‘s “Hugo.”  It is no fable, however, as “The Walk” is based on a true story.  And the final scene, before everything fades away, it’s a shining homage to one of America’s greatest landmarks.

The greatest artistic, daredevil coup of the century is gracefully breathtaking and magnificently elegant.  “The Walk” giddily ascends the skies and reaches for the clouds.

Copyright (c) 2015. Nathalia Aryani

Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven(sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

"Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com."

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