Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne
Based on: Philippe Petit‘s memoir To Reach The Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between The Twin Towers
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Clément Sibony, César Domboy, Ben Kingsley, Steve Valentine, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, Benedict Samuel
Seen on: 11.11.2015
Philippe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a tightrope walker and he dreams of doing something daring, more daring than anybody would think possible. When he sees the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York for the first time, he is dead set on walking between them. And he knows that his time is limited – once they will have finished construction on the towers, the feat will be impossible to pull off. So Philippe gathers his co-conspirators and starts preparing.
The Walk is an entertaining film that suffers from the fact that the documentary Man on Wire covered the same ground and at least equally as entertaining. It’s not bad to watch, but the 3D doesn’t really make it better than the original documentary.
Contrary to the documentary, in this fictionalized version we do get to see the walk itself in all detail and 3D. Somehow, though, the 3D and the shots that are screaming for attention didn’t really work for me. It was great to see the walk, but the 3D didn’t pay off. Since Man on Wire was an awesome film, this begs the question why The Walk was necessary in the first place, but if we leave that question aside, it is entertaining enough.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the perfect choice to portray Petit. He has enough charm to sell the character as likeable, despite the fact that he is rather egocentric and he’s even charming enough that I wasn’t completely annoyed by the incessant voice-over (although I wouldn’t have minded if the film had done without it). Even his French sounds passable enough, at least to a non-native like me.
But apart from the nice lead, the generally good cast (although Ben Kingsley seems to have shrunk down, making me wonder if he was ill) and the still excellent story, the film just doesn’t impress, and not only because there’s a serious lack of women in it, and New York felt strangely white to me – even in the crowdshots there was barely a non-white face. It’s a little too formulaic and a little too obsessed with the 3D to really come together.
Don’t get me wrong, it is entirely enjoyable. I don’t regret seeing it. And maybe I would feel differently about it if I hadn’t seen Man on Wire. But I did. And while the documentary has staying power, the feature feels like it will be quickly forgotten.