The Walk full movie review - Great way to tell an already told story
Phillippe Petit narrates his story of his 1974 wire-walking between the World Trade Center twin towers. He starts from when he found wire- walking as a kid in France when the circus comes to town featuring the Omankowski wire-walkers.
Phillippe learned by himself until he grew bigger. Once he sneaked in the wire-walk tent to practice, and got caught by Papa Rudy, the Omankowski's leader. Phillppe showed his talents at juggling so Papa Rudy lets him in on learning wire-walking techniques. When Phillippe waited at a dentist, he found a magazine article about the WTC towers to be erected, which would be the highest in the world. From then his dream was to wire-walk between them. His father threw him out of the house so he lived by juggling on the street, illegally hanging his wire rope on Parisian street posts. He met a street musician Annie as they squabble about stolen audiences. Phillippe took her to dinner and promised he'd have the street as long as she's not playing. He shared his dream and she was willing to support him.
Annie showed him a place to freely hang his wire and practice. There he met an adventurous photographer Jean Louis. Phillippe goes back to Papa Rudy for detailed technicalities; knots, wire varieties, strength and so on. Papa Rudy charges him from his juggling money. But eventually he returns all the money saying the secret is theirs now. Phillippe got a legal gig to wire-walk on a lake, but he botched it and felt awful because the audience didn't care about him. He finds the cathedral Notre-Damme's twin towers for his next illegal gig. He, Annie, and Jean Louis staged the wire and Phillippe walked his wire as the first tourists come. Of course Phillippe got arrested after that, but as he's freed Annie showed him a newspaper with an article about his Notre-Damme feat and another article of the WTC towers being almost completed. He saw this as a sign. Phillippe and Annie went to New York to survey the spot. He got discouraged as he found it hard to get access. But he struck his luck seeing an opened door a worker left behind. He found his way up to the roof and lifted back his spirit up.
Back in France, they staged a mock-up training spot. Phillippe visited Papa Rudy for advice but he suggested that Phillippe wears a safety line, to which he rejected. Jean Louis came with Jean Francois or Jeff. They flied back to NYC and Phillippe went to WTC everyday, spying on it. He accidentally met his inside man Barry Greenhouse. Barry works on the 82nd floor of the North tower. He saw the Notre-Damme gig. They met another American to help, JP, who recommended two others; Albert and David. The night before the feat, Phillippe got nervous and went a little crazy, but Annie calmed him down. As the day came, Phillippe, David and Jeff got to the South Tower, and Jean Louis and Albert to the North Tower. Phillippe and Jeff got stranded, balancing on an I beam, hiding from a guard. But eventually they passed the guard and rigged the wire and support cables.
As morning dawned Phillippe started his walk, even after losing his costume and not having time to recheck the rigging. Annie and JP down below sees him and grabbed pedestrians' attention. Phillippe crossed the void between the towers but soon went back on the wire. He stayed there as police arrived on the roof, and practically toyed with them. He took his time to salute his audience and even looked down to them. Eventually he goes off his wire, braving the wobble on his last three steps. He got arrested but the judge sentenced him to entertain kids in Central Park. Jean Louis and Annie went back to France, Phillippe stayed in NYC, and he got a special pass from the towers' architect to the roof.
The story nicely dramatizes the true story. This is quite a feat because unlike other true stories being brought to the movies, Philippe's story had been publicized more than once, particularly in his own book, and the 2008 documentary Man on Wire. I personally enjoyed Man on Wire, and had a little doubt of how this movie can play more to the story. But it turns out to be good as this movie added the scope of the story to include Phillippe's childhood, thus gave it more emotional content.
Cinematography-wise I see many reference in visualization to the earlier Man on Wire, especially the Parisian street performance and the French training spot scenes. I really like how the movie's drama really enrich the real attraction of the twin tower wire-walk itself. The emotional content and sense anxiety for of achievement are really strong in this movie.
Acting wise, I like how Phillippe's story gets told in this way. I must say that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was indeed a great choice. Although he is facially a far fetch from the real Phillippe Petit, but his totality in acting has really reached a lot, including the masterful impersonation of Petit, from his speech accents, mannerisms, and the spirit which Phillippe narrates with. Everyone who had watched Man on Wire can speedily see the real Phillippe in Gordn-Levitt's portrayal. Charlotte Le Bon and Ben Kingsley add to the story immensely, including completing the angles for the romance and comedy little inserts which further enrich this movie's experience.
My say for The Walk (2015) is a definite 8 out of 10 score, and a recommendation to go see it in the cinemas. I didn't had the luxury of seeing it in 3D or IMAX, but I'm sure it will definitely worth your money if you do.