Review: The Walk

Hope you don't mind heights.

I don't consider myself a person that's officially afraid of heights. Do I enjoy them? Not really. But being in tall buildings doesn't freak me out. That being said, watching this movie made me squirm just about as much as I would during a gory horror movie. They manage to make you feel like you're really that high up.

Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a street performer who love to walk the high wire. One day he sees a picture of the under construction twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York City and decides that's where he wants to hang his wire. He trains with Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) and soon, along with his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) and two friends Jean-Louis (Clemont Sibony) and Jeff (Caesar Domboy) they are off to New York to attempt to pull off this heist and gain a few more accomplices on the way.

I think one of the fears many had going in was that this was going to be unnecessary after the excellent 2008 documentary Man on Wire covered the same subject. I don't think it is, more people will see a feature over a doc and the film still tells Petit's story well. It's very theatrical, narrated by Petit as he stands on top of the Statue of Liberty, but it works for someone as charismatic as Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (and Petit himself, really) I thought JGL is wonderful here (bias, what bias?) he nails the accent and captured Petit well. He even trained with him to wire walk in preparation for the film. 

The visual effects in this film are stunning, like I said in my opener about how it makes you feel as if you are really that high up. The only thing that doesn't work is this terrible CGI bird they included during his walk, it looked awful and I wish they would've scrapped it. The film should ride this all the way to the Oscar nominations, but if they don't get one, that stupid bird did them in. I wish JGL would get a nomination too, he's so good here.

I couldn't help but feel like this also served as a love letter to the twin towers. Seeing them again was something else.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A-

Memorable Quote: "Why would you use that word?" - Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

18 comments:

  1. JGL looked great in the trailer, so I didn't really take issue with him here. I want to see this...but I'm just weary because of HOW good the doc was. Still...it looks stunning, so bird be damned, I'll see this one!

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    1. I hate that bird so fucking much lol. Don't be wary, it's still so good. In Four Ways we talked about how the doc felt like a heist movie and now we actually have a heist movie about it. That's pretty cool.

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  2. I was skeptical of JGL in this role. I'm always weirded out when they seem to change his face with CGI like they did in 'Looper.' It looked like they did it again, although it may have just been good makeup.

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    1. It's probably the contact lenses and wig, that's really the only thing that's different about him. They didn't change his face like they did in Looper.

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  3. I agree more people will see the feature than the doc. However, as someone who has seen and loved the doc I want to see this, just not in a rush to do so. Glad to hear JGL did well with the role, though.

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    1. I understand that. I'm not sure if I would've rushed out to see it if it wasn't JGL in it either, but I'm glad I did.

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  4. I really want to see the Doc. since reading about it on Drew's blog. I am terrified-severe phobic fear of heights but this really draws me in. despite the sad bird, I too want to see it and I think you are right about it being a tribute to the Twin Towers

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    1. The doc is on Netflix Instant last time I checked. That's how I watched it for the round table. I squired a lot in my seat because of the heights, but it's still worth it to go.

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  5. I'm glad you mentioned the accent. When I saw the trailer before Everest, I saw it back to back with Hotel Transylvania 2, and felt that JGL and Adam Sandler were doing essentiall the same accent.
    Watching the movie though I had a much better impression of it. I thought he nailed the french, but I still have read some reviews that pan it.

    I agree the bird was awful.
    I'm also not sure if the Statue of Liberty narration worked for me.
    But I liked the movie even more than I thought I would. It worked for me, with plenty of tension even though I'd seen the documentary.

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    1. JGL has mentioned several times before how much he loves French, and I believe he actually studied it in college. I thought it was good. The girl playing Annie, I caught the fact she was French Canadian immediately. JGL sounded a bit more passable, but I'm not French so I could be completely wrong on this.

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  6. wow...i guess i need to see this after all then. the commercial did nothing for me

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  7. Fun fact: this was my first 3D film, and it was surprisingly good! Stunning visual effects, and it's really an enjoyable 2 hours. It's certainly not on Man on Wire's level, but I quite liked it.

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    1. Really? That surprises me that you didn't catch Gravity in 3D. I'm glad you liked it.

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    2. I've always felt 3D was a gimmick, so I didn't even see Avatar in that format. The Walk used it very well in the final wire-walk scene, though.

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    3. 3D is mostly a useless gimmick. The only films I've ever enjoyed in 3D were this, Gravity, and Coraline. The rest kind of suck.

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  8. Glad to see you liked this one a lot. It doesn't seem to be getting as much love as it should. The film had way more style and emotion than I initially expected, and it's still one of my favorites of 2015.

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    1. I agree. I really hope it can sneak in the visual effects race at the Oscars. It deserves it.

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