Director: Robert Zemeckis
The Walk has been talked about more for its visuals than its performances, and rightly so. It’s a spectacle unlike any other, at least when it comes to dizzying heights and panoramic views, with an amazing use of CGI that forces audiences to feel the fear of being 100 stories high. Don’t watch this on the big screen if you’re an acrophobic, unless you’re trying to beat it, or you might find yourself passing out in your seat. At home in the comfort of your own easy chair, the visuals aren’t as frightening, and therefor aren’t as cool, but the cinematography & the use of computer graphics to create “the walk” are the high points of this film no matter where you see it. The rest of the movie, however, falls doing its trick, landing with a splat that isn’t pretty.
This is the true story of Philippe Petit, the most famous high wire artist of all time. He grew up outside Paris, moved to the city to pursue his dream of performing for adoring fans, and traveled as part of a circus act to improve his skill. But heights were constantly calling to him, and he needed to go higher & higher. The cathedral of Notre Dame allowed him his first illegal, public high walk, but it only fueled his desire to push the envelope. Soon, the Twin Towers in New York City would call to him, and he’d head to America to pull off the coup of the century, walking between the two towers before they were even built to completion. Against the law, yes, but a dream that could not be denied.
The Walk is a combination of Man on Wire and Polar Express, the Petit story directed by Zemeckis, but unfortunately with a childish mood that doesn’t do the artist justice. And even calling it ‘art’ is a stretch; count me as someone who doesn’t consider walking across a wire at the risk of your own life a very wonderful & inventive thing. But it’s at least impressive, and should be treated as such, which the movie does not do. It almost feels like a joke, from JGL’s terrible accent to his narration from the Statue of Liberty, reminding me more of Henri from An American Tail than a drama ought to. Combine that with horrible acting from Charlotte Le Bon & Ben Kingsley, and you’ve got yourself a mess. What saves the film are the visuals, that and the nod to 911 that makes the walk seem that much more important for being impossible now. Watchable but not great, The Walk is a movie for a relaxing evening, nothing near award-worthy.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆