As a boy, Philippe Petit aspired to perform bold feats for amazed crowds. As an adult (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), his life’s dream comes true when he becomes a high-wire walker who faces sudden death with every step. While under the guidance of his mentor known as Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), the French daredevil hashes out a plan to walk across a tightrope attached between the north and south towers of the World Trade Center. With the help of his team of accomplices and against all odds, he attempts the seemingly insurmountable challenge back on Aug, 7, 1974.
My original intention was to skip this one after seeing the trailer because I thought it was going to be bad. First, I thought Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s french accent was bad and he just seemed out of place in the film. Second, I thought the whole 3D/IMAX thing was just going to be a gimmick and it was going to be nothing more than an excuse to charge more money for 3D/IMAX tickets and not add anything to the story. Luckily, I was only wrong about one of those thoughts. Now with the story, the majority does serve as a buildup to the aforementioned walk which is what the film is named after. For me, I found it did go a little too slowly during these moments, especially the moments where he was a kid and then a teen. Also I quite enjoyed the scenes between Philippe’s younger self (also played by Gordon-Levitt) and Papa Rudy as the chemistry between the two made them entertaining. It was a shame that we didn’t get to see too many of them as it is implied that most of his training happened offscreen or he learnt a lot of it on his own. From what I saw, either of those seem likely. They also tried to give Philippe a love interest in the film by introducing a beautiful singer named Annie (Charlotte Le Bon). I found she served no purpose in the film other than slightly advancing the plot at the beginning. Their scenes were not as good because they had little chemistry. I did not care so much for the other characters as the film did not bother to develop them. I thought the story started to get remotely interesting once all of the characters finally reached New York City. Despite being silly and a little cliche at times, the part of the story involving him and his team getting the walk together and ready was engaging. When we finally got to the infamous walk, it started off promising. This sequence, as shown in the trailers, really took advantage of the 3D/IMAX technology as you could feel how high up he was and how far he had to walk. Of course this happened a few times before as we saw him attempt the same feats as practice but never at the scale of this last walk. It is also a shame that it went on for around 15-20 minutes too long as the story started to get silly in order to justify this extra time. What happened afterwards was just as if not more silly. Now I probably would have gotten into the film a lot more if Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s french accent wasn’t bad and if he just seemed less out of place in the film. What I hated about the film were the shots of Philippe telling his story onscreen and the narration because I did not find it necessary to the film as it kept saying things that were blatantly obvious or not important. Overall, the destination was pretty good but I just wished it matched the journey.
Categories: Movie Reviews