The Walk Review
In the last 12 months, we have been gifted with a mountain of brilliant biopics (The Imitation Game, Legend, The Theory of Everything, Everest, Straight Outta Compton), but none stand as tall as The Walk.
Directed by legendary director Robert Zemeckis, this movie tells the story of Philippe Petit, the Frenchman who, in the summer of 1974, hung a wire between the rooftops of the then newly built World Trade Center Towers and walked across it. A historic human achievement.
The Walk stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit, and begins with giving us some backstory into Petit's younger years growing up in the countryside of France. Through wonderful narration and pacing, we get a clear look as to why Petit ended up wanting to achieve his dream of performing the greatest high wire act in the world.
Gordon-Levitt truly shines in this role, and although his French accent is not perfectly replicated, he more than makes up for it with his charismatic and flamboyant persona - it steals the screen. Behind the scenes, Gordon-Levitt worked hand-in-hand with Petit when training for the wire segments so it is obvious that he picked up Petit's charisma and attitude whilst doing so, which makes the film all the more fantastic.
In the months leading up to this marvellous achievement, Petit formed an alliance with several people in order to realise his dream. There were some great performances from Ben Kingsley who played Petit's mentor Papa Rudy and from Charlotte Le Bon who played Petit's love interest, Annie.
What is pleasantly surprising about The Walk was that even though it portrays a true story, Zemeckis' experience and wisdom allows the film to tell the story as accurately as possible whilst also being incredibly heartwarming and comical at all the right moments. The set-up for the walk between the towers felt like a heist movie, with Petit and his team of friends having to formulate their daring scheme and execute it perfectly with each having their own crucial role to perform. This was a welcome breath of fresh air which added a welcome layer to the film to help cater to all ages of the audience.
The Walk is not only an informative biopic, but is also a phenomenal cinematic experience especially in IMAX. Zemeckis' ability to essentially put you right on the wire with Petit took my breath away. Even though I knew what the outcome of the event was, my heart was in my throat for the entire duration of the breathtaking final act. The IMAX 3D reveals the absolute scope and height of the twin towers and will have you on the edge of your seat. (If you are not a fan of heights, prepare for vertigo!)
As a fan of all things Zemeckis', I'm incredibly glad to see his terrific work back on the big screen, and to scale above the rest of the 2015 biopic pack. A wonderfully produced story that has true heart and spirit. Très bien Robert!
The Walk is out now in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D.