First Hit: This film kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.
Yes there are parts of the film I wanted a fast forward button so that I could see Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) walk the wire between the twin towers, however all the parts are necessary and they provide a great lead up to "The Walk".
In fact, I almost felt as though there wasn’t enough information in the film to make me feel sure that he’d practiced walking the wire enough to meet the challenge and goal he wanted to complete: To string a high wire between the World Trade Center (WTC) towers and walk between them.
There’s enough biographical information to set the stage that Philippe marches to his own drum – regardless of the circumstance. He meets Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) whom he connects with, romances, and she becomes his muse. There are wonderful scenes with her and Philippe, but my favorite is when they come out of the subway and she sees the twin towers for the first time and says: “woha" - it was perfect.
The team Petit put together to assist him were perfect, and each had their beliefs, strengths, and foibles. As they prepare for “The Walk”, it is easy to get engaged with the challenge. To provide expertise, Philippe seeks out wizened senior wire-walker Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) who teaches him the most important aspects of rigging and safety. Their interaction and mutual respect is obvious.
The use of 3-D is absolutely perfect. This film must be seen in 3-D. The magnificence of the feat, the view of NYC, and the view down from the wire is almost too hard to watch. This film is about courage, single mindedness, and commitment. This film is so filled with tension that there were times I had to close my eyes.
Gordon-Levitt, despite the slightly odd French accent was fantastic. He held single mindedness and the air of invincibility, perfectly. Le Bon was sublime. She was perfect as a muse, friend, lover and believer, all wrapped into one person. Kingsley was very good as the mentor and guide. Everyone in the support team was fantastic. The NYC policemen were amazing as were the WTC construction workers. I also loved that the writer and director included the mysterious visitor that came to the top of the tower viewed what Petit was doing and left. The use of voice over was also very effective. Robert Zemeckis and Christopher Browne wrote a wonderful screenplay and Zemeckis’ direction was perfect.
Overall: This was a jaw dropping, interesting, and powerful film.