July 9, 2016

The Walk (2015)

The Walk (2015)

The story of Philippe Petit's high wire walk between the World Trade towers is fascinating to say the least. While best captured in the documentary "Man on a Wire" - the recent Hollywood release "The Walk" offers additional insights into this fascinating feat.

Arguably, the best portrayal of Philippe Petit's story is in the James Marsh documentary Man on a Wire - which was inspired by Petit's book "To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers" (recently retitled "The Walk" to fit with the Hollywood release).

Robert Zemekis' adaptation The Walk still makes for compelling cinema - I sat throught the entire movie.

Zemekis' focus is more on Petit, whereas the true stars of the documentary are the two towers.

Where Zemekis' focuses on the war that wages within the self; Marsh's documentary was about a challenge by an inanimate competitor that Petit' felt compelled to meet.

Where Zemekis' attempts to instill some connection with Petit and his friends; Marsh sets us up for the big showdown: first showing us Petit's strengths and accomplishments; then presenting a documentary-within-a-documentary on the building of the World Trade Center buildings.

I like Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And he is almost believable as Petit - faux French accent and all. Overall, however, the Hollywood adaptation feels like 20-somethings playing dress-up. Compare with the documentary where we view real film reals and photos of the real gang.

In someways The Walk augments Man on a Wire. It gives us insights into characters, where the documentary focuses on the significance of events. The documentary brings to mind remenbrances of 9-11 and thus takes on additional significance.

The Walk (2015) [6/10 stars]
Man on a Wire (2008) [9/10 stars]

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