The Walk Film Review

Film Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man - Philippe Petit (Gordon-Levitt) - has ever, or will ever, walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy (Kingsley), and aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, Petit and his gang overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan.

The Review
Okay so let’s cut to the chase, does this film successfully dance along the high wire between entertaining and well-made cinema? Well the answer is “kind of”. For the most part this is a pretty compelling tale based on the craziness of a French adventurist. As they say, travel broadens the mind, I would also say that it often makes films more interesting as you find yourself trying to recognize those places that you have been to. With this story floating from Paris across the seas to New York, I found myself captivated looking at the directors’ imaginings of these two world class cities in the seventies. My experience of New York is post-twin towers. One of the most moving experience of my travels was attending the pools of remembrance in New York where the towers had been. So to see a film that centers around that time when they were in final completion stage is rather riveting.

Although it is obvious to us all that a lot of this film has been computer generated, it still has the power to grab you and throw you around. Plus, the idea of doing this film in 3D actually works extremely well. Now I know that the novelty of throwing things at the audience utilizing 3D has kind of gone by the wayside, yet here they have picked a couple of clever moments to bring it back. While nothing gets the heart beating fast like using 3D to maximize the impact of those high shots as the camera pans over the edge and brings the magnitude of these towers into focus.

In fact during the film's New York City premiere the realism of the film's climax caused some viewers to actually throw up from vertigo, at least one reviewer claimed that. Director Robert Zemeckis responded, he didn't believe that report, but "[the goal] was to evoke the feeling of vertigo. We worked really hard to put the audience up on those towers and on the wire."

Gordon-Levitt brings the comedic take on this extreme character with plenty of levity and if you ignore the general consensus of critics that narration comes from poor film making then you will certainly be entertained by his bouncy chats to camera. I can imagine that some people would find this rather cheesy and unnecessary, however I found it strangely intriguing. Throw in the always amazing Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon and a few other cleverly cast players and you have quite the fun ensemble to add the balance within the tale.

The Verdict
Could have been a little shorter but still a lot of fun and certainly gets you on the edge of seat based on the dizzyingly magnificent heights within the film. If you are going to see it… do the 3D option.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 22nd October 2015
Rating: PG – Contains coarse language
Duration: 123 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume Baillargeon and Ben Kingsley
Director: Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Castaway)

The Extras

The original title for this film was the same as the book it is based upon, "To Reach the Clouds." Later the title was altered to "To Walk the Clouds" and finally "The Walk."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt had to wear blue contacts for the role of Philippe Petit.

This feature film is based on the same book as James Marsh's documentary Man on Wire (2008).

First 2015 biography movie for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The second was to be Snowden (2015), but that has been pushed to 2016 due to the crowded movie scene for Dec 25th.

Ben Kingsley and James Badge Dale starred together in Iron Man 3 (2013)