The Walk 2015 movie

The Walk – The magic of art in the real world

I always thought a true artist could turn anything into art, as we will see today in this 2015 movie about the glorious (as well as dangerous) tightrope walk of acrobat Philippe Petit.

This boy is tormented by the dream of being suspended as high as possible, surprising the audience with his skill and balance, accomplishing something no one else had ever done before, at any cost and risk.

His desire leads him to leave home while still young, joining the circus of the sullen Papa Rudy, who is initially annoyed by the arrogant attitude of this strange boy but, recognizing his potential, nevertheless decides to be his teacher and mentor.

At the same time, Philippe frequents the street where he meets several of his colleagues and aspiring artists, such as sweet Annie, a singer and guitar player who becomes his first real accomplice in organizing the historic walk between the World Trade Center towers.

Shortly after that, he also meets Jean-Louis, a photographer who falls in love with his crazy project and decides to accompany him to New York City, where they will begin to devise a real plan for breaking into the buildings, climbing to the roof, and securing the cables and ropes for the walk.

Although there is little surveillance, it is not easy to carry bulky and heavy equipment, so the group welcomes other accomplices to help them with their jobs and gain access to areas with elevators.

As the fateful date of August 6 approaches, Philippe‘s once unshakable confidence wavers, and a foot injury further complicates matters.

However, everyone knows the real story ending, when this bizarre boy literally flies between the Twin Towers, making them famous for his feat, before they tragically become the symbol of something very different.

A master of genres and tradecraft

Leading this gem and example of how anyone should make a biopic movie in 2015 is Robert Zemeckis, another cinematic acrobat who walks confidently between multiple genres, keeping all his talent intact.

Consider, for instance, the universally adored Back to the Future trilogy, a sci-fi comedy that revolutionized the time travel concept, or other works such as Death Becomes Her and the more recent Welcome To Marwen, a biopic that delves into the extraordinary life of photographer/artist Mark Hogancamp.

Like his colleague James Cameron, Zemeckis has always been an innovator, bringing new technologies to filmmaking to create spectacular and unforgettable sequences; however, he never forgets the importance of setting up a scene and the practical effects on set that always make all the difference compared to CGI alone.

Similarly, besides being a great technician and director, his writing is no less brilliant; remember, he wrote the screenplay for such a comedy masterpiece as 1941, directed by his equally brilliant colleague and friend Steven Spielberg.

The Walk continues Zemeckis’ trajectory in his career, exploring more mature narratives like Allied and Flight, yet always keeping sight of the entertainment value, ensuring a worthwhile experience for us paying audience.

The reconstruction of the Twin Towers and 1970s New York are simply awe-inspiring; in every detail, we breathe love for a yesteryear era but profoundly marked by the influences and inspirations of numerous artists of all kinds.

Quite rightly, Zemeckis does not include any reference to the infamous attack on the towers in 2001, which cost so many lives and pain of American citizens; nevertheless, it comes out a tribute to what was the true spirit of that place, which then became instead an unintended symbol of the fear of religious terrorism.

The biggest heist in the art scene

Let’s also talk about how well Zemeckis knows how to direct the cast, having praised his skill behind the camera. This obviously includes all his crew, such as the infallible Alan Silvestri (former composer of the soundtrack for Back to the Future or Forrest Gump) or the excellent cinematography of Dariusz Wolski, a veteran from the days of The Crow to the more recent Prometheus.

While I’ve never been a die-hard fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I must admit that it’s impossible to ignore when he delivers an outstanding performance, as his captivating role in the sci-fi/thriller Looper.

Levitt brings Philippe Petit’s theatrical persona to the stage with good charisma, painting a fascinating but exasperating character in his obsession.

The actor is equally adept in the acrobatic scenes, although one must still give the benefit of the doubt to how Zemeckis knows how to fool us with imagery, but all in all, he turns out to be an excellent leader to set up the “artistic heist” with his gang.

Indeed, the greatest strength of this biopic, in my opinion, is that it comes to the screen as a heist movie with lightness and elegance, almost like a bizarre Ocean’s Eleven.

Equally convincing is the beautiful Charlotte Le Bon as the protagonist’s lover and confidante, as well as the rest of the supporting cast, like Clément Sibony, Philippe’s photographer and friend; the bizarre César Domboy, who must face heights fear at the top of the Twin Towers; and finally, the funny Steve Valentine as fan/accomplice Barry Greenhouse, the one who will solve for the group the problem of accessing the roof.

Finally, above them all, with another level of acting, is always Ben Kingsley, whose role as Papa Rudy elevates this strange story to the myth it deserves.

Let us pay tribute, then, to this great little artist who managed to make history with courage, elegance, and style, aided by the friendship and love of an equally determined group of people, which make the long walk of this 2015 movie an experience to try for yourself, especially for those who will get to watch it in 3D.

The Walk 2015 movie
Amazon Prime Video
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