The Walk (5/10)
by Tony Medley
Runtime 122 minutes.
OK for children.
While this is a relatively faithful retelling of Philippe Petit's high
wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974, it is far too long. Dragging
considerably, it still presents exceptional visual effects and wonderful
cinematography. It is so realistic that people with a fear of heights
will have a hard time sitting through it.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, who also has a writing credit on the script
with Christopher Browne based on Petit’s book “To Reach the Clouds,” it
is further burdened by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s feigned French accent,
sounding more like Pepé Le Pew than Maurice Chevalier.
But the biggest distraction is that it takes an extremely slow,
uninvolving, 90 minutes for Petit to round up his team and get to the
top of the towers. Even though everyone knows that the walk was
successful, still his walk on the high wire at 1,350 feet above the
streets of New York City is stressful to watch. This is due to the
exceptional cinematography and CGI that is enormously realistic. My
heels were tickling throughout the last half hour.
But my heels tickled in the documentary
Man on Wire (2008), which told
the same story in 28 fewer minutes, and showed the real Petit and his
real teammates through interviews and archival footage, and showed the
real walk. It doesn’t have the amazing cinematography, but it’s a much