<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Written by Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Browne. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Ben Kingsley, James Badge Dale, Clement Sibony
Running time: 2 hours
One of the best films to come from Sony in a long time, The Walk is a wonderfully balanced film that utilises 3D to scary and scintillating effect.
Yes, this story of Philippe Petit, a French acrobat and circus performer who walked the tightrope between the North and South towers of the World Trade Centre in New York is a true story. It happened back in 1974 and would probably not happen again. For one, sadly, there are no WTC buildings anymore, a fact that is only indirectly hinted to at the end of the film. And, nowadays, there’s just too much security everywhere and anyone trying something like this would probably just be shot down, especially in ‘gun happy’ America!
Philippe’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) fascination for juggling and walking the rope at ever-increasing heights leads him to the circus where Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) teaches him the ropes, as it were. Even the last few steps of the walk are important and one must never be too confident. But it is confidence that spurs Philippe and his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) along with their accomplices to fly to New York and plan their secret ‘coup’ that will capture the world’s imagination.
Now obviously just showing us his 40-minute walk wouldn’t be a movie. So there’s a huge run-up of planning that resembles a heist film and it’s quite comical as well as theatrical. This is sometimes marred by the grating French accent of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s monologues to camera atop the Statue of Liberty where he tells his tall tale to the audience. At some point it does get a bit stretched because you think, this isn’t a bank heist, so perhaps they’re over-dramatising for effect. Thankfully the light and effortless acting by the cast and some brilliant use of 3D, which makes you avert your eyes and clutch your armrests, keeps The Walk flying high.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s playful and exuberant persona work exceedingly well for this film, as it is his inimitable energy and ‘dream’ that makes you want to see it all come true.
And yes, you should certainly watch The Walk in IMAX 3D for full effect.