For Reel

The Walk (2015)
October 25, 2015, 11:43 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Robert Zemeckis
3.5 Stars
The WalkJames Marsh’s 2008 Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire was an extraordinary feat of dramatization, creating suspense through meticulously rendered recreation footage cut with shots of Philippe Petit and his accomplices recounting the story of how they broke into the World Trade Center in order to walk a wire. Petit is such an effective storyteller and the documentary was so well made that one felt as though they were there. Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk, then, seems to exist only as a means of documenting the walk itself, of which no footage exists. And, if the film largely spins its wheels until it arrives at the fateful day, the break-in and the stunt itself are terrifically accomplished. What Zemeckis really gets right is that the suspense of the final half is limited merely to the break-in itself. Once Petit is on the wire, Zemeckis doesn’t ignore the inherent danger of the situation, but treats it as a sort of release–there is little doubt that Petit will make it from the moment he steps on the wire. It’s unique to see a film’s climax rely on spectacle in a way that is this patient–whereas many Hollywood films opt for noisy finales, The Walk treats its climax as a sublime meditation, one where the awe of the extraordinary feat supersedes the more traditional visceral, action-oriented thrills.

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