Published on October 12th, 2015 | by Daniel Anderson0
MOVIE REVIEW: The Walk
The Walk is a new movie based on an incredible true story, and you have to see it in IMAX.
In August 1974 Frenchman Philippe Petite stepped out onto a high wire strung between the towers of the World Trade Centre. He did it without any kind of safety equipment and pulled off one of the most amazing stunts of all time. And this is the story of how he did it…
American filmmaker Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) takes the tale and refracts it through his own unique sensibilities, creating a visual feast which demands to be seen on the IMAX screen if possible.
Yes its in 3D but the camera also plays with space and locations in interesting ways – Zemeckis has always had visual flair, even if he spent far too much of his career on creepy CGI-fests like The Polar Express and Beowulf.
In many ways, The Walk has a lot in common with those features. It’s big and broad and basically a live action cartoon, right down to the exaggerated French accents and zooming 3D and CG effects.
And that makes it pretty entertaining, so long as you’re not expecting any kind of deep examination of the meaning of the event or Petite himself, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It’s clear that there are negative aspects to his character but they’re mostly glossed over in pursuit of the next moment of spectacle. If you’re looking for another slant on the story, check out James Marsh’s excellent 2008 doc Man on Wire.
Gordon-Levitt is likeable as ever, affecting that accent and essaying some decent French, while also taking to the physical demands of the role. His character also narrates events (from the top of the Statue of Liberty for some reason!) so there isn’t a lot of room for other performers. Still Ben Kingsley pops up and Charlotte Le Bon tries to make herself heard above the effects.
The Walk is a pretty strange film, existing mostly as an excuse for Zemeckis to try out some new gimmicks and present them before an IMAX audience. And at that it totally succeeds, with some marvellous visuals especially as the event itself unfolds. Otherwise, it doesn’t have a lot else to say, and takes more than two hours to say it.
Still, it’s quite a feat to craft this kind of project on a small $35 million budget (which it will easily make back) and it’s good to see Zemeckis still has some visual verve 30 years after Back to the Future.
Summary: A live action cartoon version of one of the greatest stunts of all time. Great 3D and effects, especially in IMAX.