In theaters this Wednesday from director Robert Zemeckis and Tri Star Pictures comes the true story of “The Walk.”
Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a young man who takes rope and stretches his imagination from one end of something to the other. Wanting to know more, Petit reaches out to Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley) to learn the trade secrets of walking a wire. He also sees a magazine photo of The Twin Towers in New York City and instantly knows that’s a walk he wants to make.
With the help of Annie (Charlotte Le Bon), Albert (Ben Schwartz) and Jeff (Jean-Francois) a plan is put into place. Visiting the United States, Petit photographs, lays out and takes detailed notes surrounding the buildings to be able to get in without anyone noticing.
That’s when Petit meets Barry Greenhouse (Steve Valentine) who becomes their inside man, and Jean-Pierre (James Badge Dale) their communications expert. As the day approaches, there execution must be swift before the sun rises and the city wakes up to the spectacular.
The odds are against them so how can they fail!
Gordon-Levitt gets a chance to pretty much hear his own voice throughout the entire film. If he isn’t amusing himself narrating from atop the Statue of Liberty’s torch, he is trying to be charming or faster than the French police.
Kingsley as Papa Rudy isn’t on the screen nearly as much as I would have liked. Here is this amazing actor who pops in and out of the story to argue with Petit. Le Bon as Annie is cute, endearing and her final scene gave me hope that she found her own self worth.
Schwartz as Albert is a supportive friend and Valentine as Greenhouse is hilarious. Dale as Jean-Pierre is so laid back that his little surprise for the group made me laugh.
My favorite is Jean-Francois as Jeff – what a sweet character who faces his fears in such a way that my jaw dropped. There are two moments where Jeff could have completely lost his mind yet kept his focus. Jeff shows what believing in something and someone really means.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “The Walk” three tubs of popcorn out of five. This is going to be a hard one since I’m sure I’ll get flack for everything I’m about to say. Okay, ready? First of all, if the character must have a French accent then make sure you deliver every line speaking with a French accent.
In “The Walk” the accent is muddled, goes in and out and just sets my nerves on edge. It’s a little peeve of mine and if Costner is going to be called out for it then I’m calling out Gordon-Levitt. Whew, I got that out.
The film felt like I was being forced to like it through a psychotic mixture of IMAX and 3D – here’s an idea, how about you pick IMAX and go with it because the glasses suck. I sat back enough yet the weird glasses (trust me they are weirder than normal) had my neck cranked so far back to keep the screen from being blurred.
Did I believe Gordon-Levitt’s Petit walked the wire? Nope. Did I believe that wire didn’t move a muscle that high up? Nope. Were the special effects nifty? Sure, but I didn’t need 20 minutes of the character walking back and forth, back and forth although the seagull was a nice hokey touch. The character of Petit is portrayed as a man who is self indulgent to my way of thinking, has a hard time being appreciative and clearly isn’t happy with one crossing swinging the wire back to being self indulgent.
Yes, I realize the film is getting raves from all around but I’m going to call it as I see it – there aren’t many raves surrounding my keyboard. The film just didn’t keep me focused and by the time I was interested even that wore me out. Let the flood gates of “are you crazy!” and “did we see the same movie?” begin. Don’t worry, I can take it!
In the end — every dream begins with a single step.