Rated: PG for thematic elements involving perilous situations, and for some nudity, language, brief drug references and smoking. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: October 9, 2015 Released by: Columbia TriStar
Robert Zemeckis's ace technical version Philippe Petit's famous World Trade Center is expressed by an ebullient Joseph Gordon Levitt (Don Jon, Looper, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For) that has wacky thrill-seeking zest ladened with prosaic, if occasional insistently amusing charm.
But, The Walk is an uneven, not so accurate but increasingly thrilling dramatic recreation of the scary, criminal and preposterous that is surely immersive (obviously the film is being distributed to capitalize initially on the desired giant-screen 3D format) once the free-spirited Petit is on a 450 lb. cable 110 stories high. The mischievous Petit speaks to the viewer in a way that underlines the film's drollery that requires a certain amount of patience like Gordon-Levitt's French accent of the oui/oui variety.
The first (less intriguing)part streamlines the Petit backstory in Paris (as the script draws from Petit's To Reach TheClouds) with an approach that appears geared to staring children of such daredevilry. A ubiquitous Ben Kingsley appears an unspecified circus showman influential in Petit realizing his dream. The tension begins to build as the story moves to the Big Apple in 1974 as a group is enticed to maneuver a tricky feat based on timing and architectural preparation without using a more effective clandestine aura.
The filmmaking then espouses an effrontery that the cast uses as the peril (with the weather) is unmistakably felt that will have many viewers quivering in their seats. Zemeckis hasn't lost his Polar Express and Back To The Future touch with imagery and state-of-the-art effect which leads to a stirring tribute and an elated meal with his addled, tolerant street performer amour Annie (Charlotte Le Bon).
Yet, a game Gordon-Levitt and an always wizardly Zemeckis just can't reach the taut, insightful, stealthy heights in the more unruffled, substantial and enchanting 2008 James Marsh documentary Man On Wire. Where the sky was the limit for a lissome ambitious Frenchman with splendid sophisticated lyricism.