The Walk

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The Walk

In 2008, director James Marsh’s documentary Man on Wire thrillingly re-created French high-wire walker Philippe Petit’s greatest feat: walking between the tops of New York’s then brand-new Twin Towers in 1974. Now with The Walk, director Robert Zemeckis’ re-creates it all over again, with less charm, a more muddled sense of drama, but – and this is pretty much the point of the exercise – a whole lot of vertigo-inducing camerawork during the high-wire work.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt wheels out a dodgy accent as Petit, but his enthusiasm is infectious as he rushes headlong into what he calls his “coup”, which is fortunate as the rest of the cast is forgettable at best. Likewise, the heist-like planning his team puts together to get themselves and their gear to the top of the towers is workmanlike rather than edge-of-the-seat stuff, but that’s more than made up for by Zemeckis’ skill at putting 3D to good use when it comes to making sure we know it’s a long way down.
If you’re even remotely afraid of heights, stay well away from this. It may be in part a (thankfully subdued) salute to the Twin Towers themselves, but it feels like what Zemeckis is really admiring is gravity itself.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris