Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Man on Wire

Man on a Wire

Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: July 25, 2008 Released by: Magnolia Pictures

This riveting documentary brings one back to a unique event that happened two days before the resignation of Richard Nixon on August 7, 1974.

Man on Wire incisively makes the most of its brief running time to look at the amazing feat of Phillippe Petit (played in some new passages by Paul McGill).

This wire-walking artist would be determined to walk across the World Trade Center's two towers, and this dramatic, thrilling interpretation has a haunting nature about it, given what happened nearly seven years ago.

Petit, as an older teen, visualized himself doing this dangerous stunt when looking at a conceptional building drawing.

Much of Wire looks at the incidents surrounding this roguish individual prior to what was more than a stroll for 45 minutes about 1300 feet high. Director James Marsh gets into earlier Petit efforts in Sydney and Paris.

The helmer works extremely well with his crew to expertly assemble stills, archival footage, new interviews and striking recreations, vividly capturing time and place. It's clear that this kind of act would never, ever happen today, given homeland security measures.

An intriguing insight into the World Trade Center is there to behold with perspectives from those involved, not just the mischievous Petit. There is a skeptical girlfriend, Allix, an Australian planner, Lewis, colorful inside man Greenhouse, besides Americans Welner and Foreman, and French aides Heckel and Blondeau.

In the end, it plays like a mystery, even if the outcome is known, and the actual high point isn't maybe that exciting. Yet, something that "wasn't wicked, but illegal" and an aftermath like an afterthough isn't diminished by something so tense and amazing some who lived through it might feel like it happened yesterday.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Man on Wire        A-                  A- 
A Top Ten for 2008
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