Based on actual events, this high wire act is gripping from beginning to end thanks to the masterful direction of Robert Zemeckis and star performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt
I’ll go on and say this right away: The Walk is one of the best films of 2015. Most people will be familiar with the main story: a man decides to set up his own wire spanning the distance of the Twin Towers and decides to do what any normal person would do and walk the 140 gap with no safety or anything. Considering a documentary of the event already exists with Man on Wire, one would think that maybe The Walk would be kind of pointless. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The Walk is a must watch film for plenty of reasons: the acting, the directing, and the absolutely jaw dropping effects that may or may not have made me lightheaded and a bit dizzy.
Narrated from the Statue of Liberty with the Twin Towers in the background, Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) narrates his story. Sure, it’s a bit corny, but Gordon-Levitt’s charm and likeability shine through from the start. A street mime who hasn’t found a place to put his wire, Philippe Petit discovered the gloriously terrifying world of wire walking as a kid when he went to the circus. Watching the act of Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), Philippe was inspired to take on the wire himself.
A bit slow for a while, things begin to pick up the pace once Petit sees the illustration of the Twin Towers and right there, his obsession begins. He knows where he wants to place his wire…over the 140 foot gap between two of the highest towers in the world. With the advice of Papa Rudy and the support of his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon), Petit travels to New York City with his gear and begins to scout and prepare for this insane feat.
On the night of the set up, The Walk somehow turns into one of the most intense and most suspenseful films over the last few years. Watching Philippe and his team try and set everything up throughout the night is terrifying just because you know with one false step…well…it’s a long drop. And that’s not even talking about the walk itself.
Once the walk between the Twin Towers begins…well it’s just a wild ride unlike anything in theaters. Seeing a film in IMAX is always an experience, seeing a film in 3D is…not as much. But the only way to watch The Walk is in IMAX 3D. Watching Petit walk across his wire 110 stories high never felt so real and so…nauseating. There are times where I had to remind myself that this wasn’t some sort of fictional story I was watching but that this man…this real, insane man…went on and actually did all this and walked back and forth between the Twin Towers.
The Walk can be a little bit rough at the start…sure it’s enjoyable but it’s a lengthy prologue. But once things kick into gear, The Walk shows that it’s one of the best films of the year. Joseph Gordon-Levitt becomes Philippe Petit, actually learning to walk the high rope and learning how to do what was a fairly impressive Parisian accent. And Zemeckis does a fantastic job at not just telling the story of this slightly insane man, but pays a touching tribute to the Twin Towers and the thousands of people who lost their lives on that tragic day.
The Walk is directed by Robert Zemeckis, written by Zemeckis and Christopher Browne, and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, and James Badge Dale. The Walk will be in theaters September 30, 2015.
Special thanks to IMAX for having us at a private screening of The Walk and cocktail party on Monday, Sept. 28, which was attended by Academy Award-winning director Robert Zemeckis and renowned architect of 1 World Trade Center, Daniel Libeskind. Alan Alda, Peggy Gelfond, Mindy Moeller, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, CEO of IMAX Corporation Rich Gelfond, personality Delaina Dixon, founder and Creative Director of Plan de Ville Catherine Smith, Former NASA Astronaut Michael Massimino, TV Personality Liz Claman, Founder of Apax Partners Alan Patricof and Susan Patricof, were some of the notables who were in attendance and walked the red carpet. Check out a few photos below: