[Film Review] The Walk

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Somehow I gather the strength to whisper…whisper so the demons won’t hear…It’s impossible…But I’ll do it.

Sometimes I like to take a time back and remembering films that lasted in me. One of those is “The Walk”. I still remembered exactly the day I went to catch the film in the cinema.  After a few tries in finding the time to go see it.  Determined, when I have my headset on something, I’m like a dog with a bone. It doesn’t matter that the movie is shown at 10 AM and the only cinema still showing it until now is roughly an hour and a half by bus from my home. Nonetheless, when I got into the cinema and watched the film unfold itself, all was worth it. It was brilliant. It was one of the films that made my heart raced through every scene, riled with anticipation. This was the second time in all my time watching films; I was fidgeting and curled with agitation watching Philippe’s madness unfold throughout the film. The first time was during ‘Hugo’.

‘The Walk’ is a film is a true story about Philippe Petit, a French high-wire artist who had walked between the twin towers. It is based on Petit’s autobiography “To Reach The Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between The Twin Towers”. It is told in the first person narrative, Philippe’s. It starts off with Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) standing on top of the Statue of Liberty retelling his scandalous love affair with the twin towers before they were even finished.

The film takes us through almost all his life, how he fells in love with high-wire rope walking, after seeing Papa Rudy(Ben Kingsley) walked. His love for high wire walking was obvious. The cinematography technique used in the film highlighted his passion when he constantly looks for a good spot to hang his ropes. In those scenes everything loses its color, the only thing still vibrant with color is his small red rope. If that doesn’t emphasize how great his love and passion is, I don’t know what will.

Of course, throughout the film, Philippe Petit is pretty much crazy. Like full on crazy, deadly serious about his art and creation. I love how he would pick up his pace when he talks about his passion. How his words become faster, blended into one another while still remain coherent. One of the best scenes, of which not the high wire walking one since those scenes them self-are practically breathtaking and heart-stopping already. The best scene is when he draws his circle. In his circle, Petit is invincible, no one is allowed to enter and he will not talk. He just performs and of course to enter you have to also be an artist. That scene draws out a series of laughter and awe in me when I watch it. I admire his passion and his possessiveness over his little artist space. Of course, walking on the wire, no man can do it on their own. No, no, Petit is smart; he knows that he needs ‘accomplice’ for his ‘coup’. First one is Anne (Charlotte Le Bon) who is also his lover. Slowly he got more and more accomplices from Jean-Louis (Clément Sibony), Jeff (Cesar Domboy), Jean-Pierre (J.P) (James Badge Dale), Barry Greenhouse (Steve Valentine), Albert (Ben Schwartz) and David (Benedict Samuel).

Being a true artist, Petit is also extremely good at building things, I mean look at his little model of the twin towers that build from material in the restaurant charming Barry into helping him. Or that he juggles and can perform magic tricks or how he rides a single-wheel cycle. Even his top hat in the film shouts romanticism and very mime related art!!!

Most of all, I’m hooked at how he’s crazily driven to walk the wire, despite the fact that it would kill him. Even though he is crazy, he is a true artist. He would refuse to wear safety equipment so that his work is honest so he wouldn’t be lying to his audiences. The cinematography of the film is absolutely stunning, they corporate with various styles of photography skill, mainly bird-eye view and worm eye view, and a lot of aerial shots to emphasize the scope of his dream. Because this film is told from Petit perspective and have him talked in the entire film, the audience understood everything. From his angry and confusedness at his first fall at the festival into the pond. I love how Petit vents out his frustration by listing out everything that is going wrong with an ascending tone and how he applies the same thing to his list of works to gather information about the tower. Spying, day and night, disguising as builders, tourists, reporters from Metropolis, architecture, etc. Brilliant really, it’s ridiculously hilarious at the constant changes of scenes of him different clothes every day, in his binocular checking out the tower.

And then the moment comes, like every important plan. There would always something to go wrong with. I would almost anticipate it; I mean I saw the trailer. I know he hurt his foot, but what I didn’t know would be that they would be trapped in the top tower where the guards would be walking around. Both him and Jeff sitting on the pole, the only thing that kept from falling into their painful death. This scene, I totally in love with Jeff. I mean the guy has a height phobia. Even when they just walk to the second floor and he would be shaking in fear. Yet here he is, sitting on the pole, hundreds of meters from his death. Despite his fear he still sits on that pole, because he’s helping Petit. Completely take my heart away, until Petit starts jumping around the roof in his birthday suit.

Yep, that right. Petit or should I say Joseph Gordon-Levitt jumping around stark naked. I mean it was extremely awesome and mouth watering already watching him half-naked, hammering the crates imagining it into a coffin. Which I think is quite a hypocrite thing to do, I mean he told himself or us audience rather that he was making himself a coffin the night before the walk. Yet he argues with Anne for being uncaring using the word ‘death’. I was like, okay ‘he had gone batshit crazy, Anne, just whack him in the head and take him to bed please’. But then again they can’t do anything about it, it’s too late to back out now. ‘The carrot is cooked’ They say.

Back to the roof-top, where he jumping around naked thinking, he would be able to feel the fishing line if he had more skin surface exposed. It’s ridiculous really when the arrow with the line is at the corner of the tower. Then the appearance of the mysterious guy, who we had absolutely no idea who the hell he is until the end, but thank god he leaves, I mean Petit is damn close to whacking the guy with a metal pipe. Whack that guy, then he can say goodbye to walking free on the street, never mind on the wire.

However, the moment that everybody is waiting for is when Petit begins his walk across the tower. My heart stops with the music stop as he walks. His first walk across it, where he hugs Jean-Louis, sits down on the wire. He realizes, this is where he belongs, on the wire and so he walks again. It’s beautiful, how he stops and bow at the audiences, say thank you to the towers, to New York and how he would do something that no high wire artist would do. He looks down and then lies back down at the wire. This moment is when time stops. This moment is when everybody off their phone, stop chowing down popcorn or slurping their coke and just watch in anticipation and of course laugh at how every time the police try to catch him and he would just turn around and do another walk.

I swear at that moment I was definitely thinking the same thing the policemen were thinking too: ‘He’s being a little shit’.

It was beautiful and magnificent; it’s an incomparable art that was displayed in front of me. Even when his feet were bleeding terribly and end up having to shift his weight so that he leans to one side to walk back to the tower. I think to myself in the end, the real Philippe Petit did this, he really did and how I wish I was there to see it with my own eyes, but sadly I wasn’t born back then and certainly didn’t have the money to fly to New York.

In the end, I have nothing left but a round of applause to director Robert Zemeckis, cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and the person who prepare the music score Alan Silvestri for putting together this amazing film. A film which perfectly woven laughter with passion, fear with anticipation, love with madness together like a complete jigsaw. No more no less. Of course, if I were wearing a hat, I would tip it off to Joseph Gordon-Levitt for his amazing acting skill, his fluent French and completely flawless Parisian accent. If it wasn’t because I know how he sounds like in real life from some of his previous films and interviews, I would actually think he is French and not American. The fact that the Philippe Petit trains him personally so that he can walk on high wire makes the movie even more authentic.

I love the last line of the movie, how he ended still standing on the statue of Liberty:

Most of these passes have a little date. A date when they expire…Mr. Tozzoli crossed the date on my pass…and wrote on it – FOREVER.

With him looking a little bit melancholic, reminiscing his love, camera shifts back to the twin towers and all I can think is one word.


Should you see it? I say one hundred percent, absolutely watch and submerge your self to the incomparable amalgamation of beauty and imagination.

Much love


4 thoughts on “[Film Review] The Walk

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