The year is 1973…The place is Paris. Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) goes to the dentist to have a tooth treated. While waiting his turn, he picks up a magazine and reads an article about the soon-to-be-built World Trade Center towers. He forgets about his tooth ache, tears the article from the magazine, goes home and draws a line between the two towers.. It’s at this moment that Petit’s dream is born. He becomes obsessed with one thing…Walking from the South Tower to the North which just happened to be 110 stories high.
‘The Walk’ directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by him and his co-writer Christopher Browne is based on Petit’s memoir’s ‘To Reach the Clouds’ and that is exactly what he did. The film is told in flashbacks and in the beginning Gordon-Levitt’s french accent might be a bit off putting, but eventually you will get so engrossed in this inspiring, exciting and intense story that you’ll forget all about it. Petit was a wire walker…a great wire-walker. Perhaps one of the best.
He would walk around Paris finding places to put his wire. It’s here in this City of Lights that he meets his girlfriend, Allix (the lovely Charlotte Le Bon) a street singer who gets swept up in Petit’s extraordinary energy and his passion for his art as well as his fearlessness. We also get to meet his teacher and mentor, Papa Rudy Omankowsky of the famous White Devils aerial troupe (Ben Kingsley) who despite Petit’s arrogance, agrees to teach him a thing or two about wire-walking..
As the date of the completion of the Towers draws near, Petit frantically gets to work. First thing he does is gather a group of accomplices to help him pull off this very illegal caper. He recruits people from France as well as New York and working together they come up with a plan to sneak Petit up to the top of the South Tower, then attach the wire to the North Tower without being seen by the guards, as well as a few other complex and dangerous things, in order to make this happen.
‘The Walk’ really comes alive in the last third when Petit, against all odds, gets on the wire, That is when the true magic kicks in and that is when Gordon-Levitt really shines. Watching daredevil artist walk back and forth from one tower to the next over and over again in is like watching the greatest prima ballerina dance. It is pure beauty and pure art.. Yes of course they used a stunt double even the Levitt did practice for a week walking on a wire to get the idea of what it feels like.
‘The Walk’ which opens in theatres Wednesday September 30th is available in IMAX and 3D and that is definitely the best way to see this film. On a different note, it’s hard to see the World Trade Center without remembering the day that changed the U. S. and it’s people forever…9/11. I don’t think in this climate it would have been so easy for Petit to climb to the top and bring his dream to life. You really feel how much our lives have changed. I gave the film 4 bagels out of 4 and threw in a crepe. Check out the Two Jews On Video for more of my thoughts and of course to see my reluctant guest star. Please SUBSCRIBE to our YOUTUBE CHANNEL and let me know what you think about ‘The Walk’