THE WALK

THE WALK, the latest film to bring forth all forms of vertigo, especially if viewed in IMAX 3D. When I first heard this being made I lost my shit, “how dare they make something that detracts from MAN ON WIRE,” a sublime documentary of the acts fictionalised in this very movie (I did have a review but the old server was erased by a douche bag). But ahead they went and the buzz is generally good. I have read things from “the best 3D ever made” to “why try and make something better than the real thing, the 3D is way too much.” Sadly I was double booked for this one, am desperate to see it as I suffer huge vertigo and would love to have that element in a movie for added emotional “messing up.” Kernel John reviewed this one, and shares his thoughts below. THE WALK releases this Thursday 15th October in Australia from the fine peeps at Sony Pictures Australia. It is rated PG (take the kids – they will love it!!) and runs for 123mins. Enjoy John’s splendid review……all the best……JK.

 

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THE WALK | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | Movie Poster Image

 

BY JOHN MCPARLAND

French highwire artiste extraordinaire Philippe Petit has amazed audiences around the world with his death defying feats of brilliance. From the early 1970s right up to and including the new millennium, Petit has performed in some of the most astonishing locales on Earth. He even ventured to Sydney back in 1973, where he surreptitiously strung a highwire between the two southern pylons of the Harbour Bridge, and performed an illegal walk across it. But nothing Petit had done before or since could compare to his incredible actions of the morning of the 7th August, 1974, when he crossed a wire he had secretly strung up between the roofs of the two towers of the New York World Trade Center, at a height of more than 400 meters.

THE WALK is a fantastic drama based on that impossible event. Directed by Academy Award winner Robert Lee Zemeckis (FLIGHT, FORREST GUMP) and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES) as Philippe Petit, this film is a definite must see.

 

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THE WALK | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) and Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

 

We first meet Petit standing on top of the Statue of Liberty, breaking the fourth wall and explaining to the audience his desire to undertake the greatest and most astounding performance the world has ever seen, which he has taken to calling “The Coup.” The film opens with Petit during his street performance years, along the boulevards of Paris. Befriending circus veteran Papa Rudy, played by Ben Kingsley (IRON MAN 3), Petit is taught the intricate skills of highwire walking, quickly becoming a master of the art. When he learns of the construction of the then world’s tallest buildings in New York, The Coup begins to formulate in his mind and he starts to map out how to go about walking between the World Trade Center towers. Along the way, he enlists several accomplices to his crime, both in Paris and in New York during his frequent trips to the States to plan the deed.

Gordon-Levitt is mesmerising in this film. His portrayal of Petit is highly engaging and enthralling. Sometimes coy and humorous, sometimes fierce and fiery, but always dedicated and driven, Gordon-Levitt makes Petit’s ardent determination and single-minded purpose to complete The Coup intensely heartfelt. At no point in the movie are you left in any doubt as to Petit’s resolve regarding his walk, and throughout it all you cannot help but silently cheer on the artiste as he plans one of the most illegal and dangerous stunts in history. All of this emotion and support for the character is due in massive part to Gordon-Levitt’s stellar performance. Helping to carry this marvel along are strong performances from Kingsley and the other supporting cast.

 

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THE WALK | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | Petite (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

 

The film overall is equally as fantastic in its construction. Zemeckis shines once again, putting together a masterful movie that draws you in from the very beginning and does not let go, even once the credits start to roll. His dramatic use of special effects to beautifully enhance this film are a wonder, from the recreation of the twin towers, to the fateful walk itself, all are portrayed in such tasteful augmentation, to help pull you further into the magic of THE WALK. His use of Gordon-Levitt as narrator does not detract from the movie’s sense of drama and immersion, as narration so often does, but instead helps to explain and enhance scenes that, while not complicated to comprehend, gained some small amount of audience engagement and stimulation thanks to Petit’s passionate words. In a similar narrative styling to that of Baz Luhrmann’s MOULIN ROUGE!, this movie is about Petit’s life and experiences, as seen through his eyes. Who better to talk us through it than the master himself?

The film’s music is also lovely and inspiring. Zemeckis’s long time partner in crime renowned composer Alan Silvestri (THE AVENGERS) once more puts together a beautiful score to accompany the movie’s poignant moments.

 

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THE WALK | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | Petite (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

 

The film is a comedy of errors at times, but walks a perfect line (no pun intended) between humour and drama. It never strays into the realm of slapstick, but instead inserts just enough levity to allay the undercurrent of terror that would otherwise overtake audience members if they were allowed to think a little too hard about what was about to take place. For instance, should Petit have fallen from his wire, it would have taken him roughly ten seconds to reach the ground; enough time to scream your lungs empty, take another breath and scream again. Portrayed another way, this film could have been a much darker and desperate tale, but instead Zemeckis’s choice of light-hearted championing is much better received and was a pleasure to watch.

The 3D was excellent even freaky at times with some vertigo moments and a few jump scenes with an item or two flying at the camera.

The film loses half a point sadly to some slight stereotypical and annoying “Americanisms” with how some of the characters and events were portrayed, I did cringe a couple of times.

The non-militaristic definition of a “coup” is “a notable or successful stroke or move.” Philippe Petit’s actions on that fateful morning were all he had hoped them to be and nothing short of an outstanding accomplishment. Brought to audiences forty years later through Zemeckis’s incredible direction and Gordon-Levitt’s spectacular performance, THE WALK is equally as distinguished as the events it portrays.

 

4 and a Half Pops