Watching this stunningly sensational film, directed by Robert Zemeckis (“Forest Gump”) and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as funambulist, Philippe Petit, who on August 6th, 1974 floated between the rooftops of New York City’s World Trade Center aka the “Twin Towers”, I was overwhelmed by a powerful, wrenching sense of nostalgia, not just for the loss of lives and the erasure of monumental architectural icons (9/11/01) but for the death of an era, freedom, and the birth of a cautioned, suspicious, patrolled world; gone forever the lassie faire, cavalier goodbye hugs at airport gates, divesture of one’s shoes, bags and privacy initiated by a warped devotion to a vengeful, vindictive god, heralding the vanguard of the future; life, cauterized in the twenty-first century.
“The Walk” based on Petit’s book “To Reach the Clouds” is narrated by Petit (Gordon-Levitt), (the outcome is ordained) in a series of flashbacks; wonderfully effective, viewers are treated to Philippe’s rise to heights; training by Papa Rudy (always erstwhile Ben Kingsley), steadfast encouragement by his girlfriend, Annie (fragile, celestially beautiful Charlotte Le Bon); the film soars in the final “act” of the trilogy: the plotting, clandestine preparation, quest for “accomplices” , stringing the wire between the two buildings, culminating in some of the most fascinating footage experienced on today’s screen.
It is Gordon-Levitt’s portrayal that kidnaps the viewers attention and clenches it from commencement to conclusion; French accent, mimicked to perfection; refined, balletic balance; foremost, in grasping Petit’s blinding desire to accomplish the impossible (the coup), arrogant persistency, never wavering, converting his accomplices to his, undeniably insane, dream; always, always, perpetually about “life”, ultimate joy of reaching the clouds, mingling, ultimately, reluctantly returning to the pavement.
“The Walk” is a homage to an inimitable man and indomitable city.
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!!!!