Blu-ray Review: ‘The Walk’ Is A Beautiful Tribute To The Twin Towers

There are many amazing things that we can do on this earth. We can climb Mount Everest. We can sky dive over the islands of Hawaii. We can walk across the Great Wall of China. Yet, one thing that used to be possible will never be again. We will never be able to view the gorgeous city of New York from the top of the Twin Towers or view the city of New York with those wondrous towers standing in the middle of it. That glorious experience was taken away from us.

Well, it was taken away from us until now. In the fantastic new film ‘The Walk’, director Robert Zemeckis defies the laws of physics and erects those buildings again. He also allows us to travel back in time to the inception of the 420 ft wonders through the eyes of a man of who experienced them more intimately than any other. Than man’s name was Phillipe Pettit and he was the one who christened the towers with the wire walk heard the world around.

You may remember hearing about this story a few years back and that’s because James Marsh directing an equally great documentary called ‘Man on Wire’. That film one an Academy Award for its exciting heist plot. The story in ‘The Walk’ has the same fun heist movie feeling, but it also has something no documentary can mimic.

The story opens on a rambunctious Phillipe (played by a very energetic Joseph Gordon-Levitt) standing on top of lady liberty’s flame narrating his own tale. It is a magical way to tell the story and it’s a decision that works out perfectly in the final frame of the movie (this film has a great ending by the way). The first half hour of the film mostly concentrates of Phillipe becoming a wire walking artist in Paris, meeting his girlfriend Annie and how he got his dream of walking the wire between the towers. It’s in the middle act where things get fun.

The whole middle of the movie is completely devoted to the preparation it took to sneak into the tower, run the wire, and perform one of the greatest stunts of all time. First, he needed a number of accomplices. He had a photographer friend from Paris, a buddy who was ironically afraid of heights, and Annie (played by a lovely Charlotte Le Bon). However, that’s not enough. He also needs New Yorkers. He also needed an insider at the trade center named Barry (Steve Valentine) and a quick talker to distract the construction workers named JP(a scene stealing James Badge Dale).

While he was assembling his team he also had to recon the trade centers. He needed to know the routines of everyone that came and went in that building. So, he studies the patterns every single day for weeks and weeks. It’s a lot of fun watching Levitt change into a bunch of different costumes to scope the place out. It’s also a bit silly. Either way, it works to entertain the audience in the lead up to the grand finale.

In the final 40 minutes or more, the movie goes from good to absolutely great. And in its time on the wire, it becomes something close to transcendent. The heist movie part of watching Pettit sneaks his team is filled with loads of fun and tension. I especially like the section where Pettit and his vertigo induced friend try to stay still at the top of an elevator shaft. Still, nothing could really set you up for the experience that is ‘The Walk’.

I’m not going to ruin what happens in the final 30 or 40 minutes of this film. Most of you already know that he is going to walk the wire and clearly lived through the ordeal because he is the one telling the story. However, it’s the experience of actually watching him walk on that wire, and the way that Bob Zemickis makes us feel like we are on that wire with him, that makes it so breathtaking. If you miss the entire rest of this movie, but you make the last 30 or 40 minutes of it, that would be worth your money.

Nathan Ligon

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