Check out the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘The Walk’ embedded below or read on for our mini-review!
Fans of the popular and critically acclaimed 2008 documentary ‘Man on Wire’ should be familiar with the story of Philippe Petit. In 1974, daredevil tightrope walker Petit performed an illegal yet breathtaking high-wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center, a feat now considered both an act of courage and a mark of artistry.
In Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation ‘The Walk,’ this familiar story is told in an unfamiliar way. While the facts play out roughly true-to-life, the presentation comes across with more grandeur, as Zemeckis weaves a tall-tale that wouldn’t feel out of place next to Paul Bunyan or Johnny Appleseed. Dramatic shots clearly created to capitalize on the film’s 3D IMAX marketing feel distracting at times, pulling the audience into Zemeckis’ vision of a story that is as much spectacle as it is anything else, sometimes at the expense of the narrative.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is cast as Petit, utilizing an over-the-top faux French accent that is at first disconcerting. This version of Petit is pompous and self-involved, solely focused on his ambitious dream, chewing up and spitting out those around him to see it through. It can easily be argued that this version of Petit is an unlikeable protagonist.
Somehow, the larger-than-life presentation works, from the cinematography to the acting to the unorthodox narration techniques. On paper, the elements of this film aren’t individually all that good. As the film progresses, though, Gordon-Levitt’s fearless caricature begins to grow on you, and the charming and whimsical nature of the film becomes rather enjoyable. If you’re looking for a cinematic masterpiece, look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a quirky, refreshing twist on the stale biopic formula, ‘The Walk’ may be right for you.