Movie Review: The Walk (2015)

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon and Clèment Sibony

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Following the incredible true story of glory achieved by Philippe Petit in the summer of 1974. A street juggler and wire walker dreamed big and became the first and only person to walk a wire between the World Trade Center.

Let’s start off with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Over the course of his career he’s built up a rather impressive filmography which includes the likes of Looper, Inception, Premium Rush and The Dark Knight Rises. Despite the quality of the movies he’s featured and starred in I feel that most of his performances fall under the category of just good. They’ve been neither bad nor great and have fallen somewhere in the middle with the exception of his role in 50/50 which I’d label as his only great performance that I’ve seen. Well, all that has changed since watching The Walk. He is truly phenomenal as wire walker Philippe Petit and this without a doubt is his best performance. His accent and language work is beyond superb and the emotional range he shows during Philippe’s journey of achieving his dream is incredible and something he hasn’t really shown all that often. His portrayal of Philippe Petit is one of the best character study performances I’ve seen in a long time, a true breath of fresh air.

JGL plays Philippe Petit who is a world famous wire walker due to him being the first and only person to ever walk between the Twin Towers on a wire and what makes his story even more legendary is that he did so without the use of support wires or safety harnesses, it was simply Philippe Petit showcasing his ability in its most natural and genuine form. Philippe first wanted to become a wire walker at age 8 after sneaking into a circus performance and seeing the art of wire walking for the first time. Growing up he became a street performer who would wire walk and juggle but it was not until he saw the World Trade Center in a newspaper that his dream, his purpose in life was made clear. Under the tutelage of Papa Rudy, a great wire walker and Philippe’s inspiration, he gathers a group of accomplices to aide him in his quest to wire walk between the Twin Towers.

The supporting cast which included Charlotte Le Bon, Clèment Sibony and James Badge Dale were all wonderful in their roles of assisting Petit on his quest. The sense of excitement to be apart of something so spectacular was on display but that excitement was always dashed with a hint of dread and worry encase the worst happened and Petit fell. The biggest name associated with this movie apart from Joseph Gordon-Levitt was Ben Kingsley who’s a master of his craft and plays the role of inspiration and mentor, Papa Rudy. Unfortunately, he was the one thing that was disappointing within the movie. Papa Rudy was meant to be a travelling Czech circus performer but at times Kingsley didn’t quite have the control and consistency over the accent as JGL did with Philippe’s. Certain parts during Papa Rudy’s scenes he would sound ever so English and the accent would be all over the place and it really did take away from such a great all round movie.

Robert Zemeckis is the director and he has directed some wonderful movies in his time, Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Cast Away to name but a few. While The Walk may not be quite at the level as Forrest Gump it’s also not that far off either. I’d say it easily ranks second place out of his movies and that’s not doing any of his other movies any disservice, just showcases how good The Walk actually is.

Overall, wonderful movie, great performances and story telling and who knew a man walking along a wire would be so fascinating. A must see!!

9/10

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