Robert Pimm

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The Walk – high wire movie 7/10

I often enjoy most the movies I didn’t intend to see.  I went to see “Mr Holmes” but it had finished.  So I ended up watching “The Walk” instead.

The film has irritating elements.  The magical realism style feels laboured, with the protagonist, French high-wire walker Philippe Petit, narrating his tale from the torch atop the Statue of Liberty.  The whimsical Amelie flavour won’t suit everyone; the cute early courting scenes between Petit and love interest Annie may set some teeth on edge.  But when we get to New York and the practical business of how Petit set about stringing a wire between the Twin Towers (still under construction) and doing his walk, the film becomes in turns engrossing and, I found, thrilling.  The 3D helps, rather than hinders.  And both the final resolution of the affair with Annie and Petit’s reference to his complimentary ticket to visit the viewing platform of the Twin Towers “for ever” offer chill drafts of realism.

For: an entertaining and technically impressive rendering of a real-world adventure with decent narrative drive.  The final high-wire scenes above New York are vertigo-inducing.

Against: overly cute in parts.  Some lazily-sketched minor characters.  And you’re left wanting to find out more about Petit, and to watch the widely-held-to-be-a-masterpiece documentary of the same event, Man on Wire.  In fact, I may have to buy the DVD.

P.S. if you enjoyed this, you might like my collection of Hotel Storiesavailable from Amazon.  You can explore the Hotel Stories and other writing on this site.

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