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Review: The Walk

Zemeckis has directed shots which are beautiful more than terrifying.

Review: The Walk

The Walk

James Gilmore

W!ZARD News Author

The Walk stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as French high-wire walker Philippe Petit, the only man who has ever walked ‘the void’ between the Twin Towers on a high wire.

Set in the 1970’s, the movie tells the story of Petit’s discovery as to his love of the high-wire, to the realisation that he was ‘born to walk between the Twin Towers’ and the execution of this hugely dangerous stunt. With an A List cast assisting Gordon-Levitt, including Ben Kingsley and Charlotte Le Bon, Robert Zemeckis (“Forrest Gump”, Back to the Future”), has done it again.

Starting in the 1970’s, Gordon-Levitt’s Petit acts as the narrator, informing the audience as to how he fell in love with the circus and, subsequently, the high-wire at an early age. Cue funny scenes of a young-look Gordon-Levitt falling of high-wires, this triggers the first fault of The Walk. For every moment which could be truly beautiful, it feels the need to rest on a comedic break. With such beautiful, meaningful shots it’s completely unnecessary, and ruins the film at times – although it does ensure that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The real headline moments come during the execution of the high-wire walk. Scenes of Petit walking between the Twin Towers, as the clouds clear and the audience is greeted with a slightly nauseating shot of the ground below – it is evident as to how much training Gordon-Levitt put into high-wire walking. In fact, he was trained by Petit himself.

It’s a serious of scenes which could go on forever, and you’d still watch it. It’s visual effects at it’s greatest – creating lifelike scenes of Petit balancing on a single rope, running away from police waiting for him on both towers upon his return. Whilst there have been rumours of people throwing up during such scenes (the depth of the shots can get quite intense, especially if you’re watching it in IMAX), it seems unlikely. Zemeckis has directed shots which are beautiful more than terrifying.

But, despite the film’s spectacular nature, there are plenty of faults.

Whilst Gordon-Levitt makes a respectable Frenchman, it takes a long time to get used to and (for the most part) his version of Petit feels like an impression rather than a fully-fledged, depth-filled character. Equally, using him to also play a narrator character felt slightly cheap.

However, all of the faults of the film disappear in the beautifully directed shots.

Ending on a respectable nod as to how much America miss the Twin Towers (a moment which the whole cinema was waiting to see) – Zemeckis has managed to direct, write and produce a stunning film which beats many of its obstacles.

Who knew a film about walking could be so interesting?

The Walk is out in cinemas nationwide now.

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