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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Monday, October 19, 2015

Movie Review - The Walk

The Walk (2015)
***viewed in 3D***
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Clémont Sibomy, James Badge Dale, César Domboy, and Ben Kingsley
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

There's a charm and innocence that accompanies The Walk that one doesn't often see in live-action PG-rated films.  Let's be honest -- what was the last live-action PG-rated flick aimed squarely at adults that was even released?  A movie of this ilk is rare these days.  That said, considering the film's length -- it clocks in at more than two hours -- there's a lack of tension present as we learn about the true story of high wire walker Philippe Petit's 1974 attempt at traversing the two World Trade Center towers in New York City.  While The Walk still works -- thanks in part to a very nice performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit -- you may be better off watching the 2008 Academy Award-winning documentary Man on Wire which details the same event with a slightly better result.

Now typically, this is where I'd toss in a summary paragraph about The Walk's plot...but I've essentially already done that with the one sentence description of the film above.  Petit is a Frenchman who has devoted his life to street performing and tight rope walking and upon opening a magazine in 1973 while at a dentist's office, he reads about the construction of the World Trade Center towers in NYC and sets a goal of crossing the two on a thin metal rope.  The rest of the film deals with Petit finding a team to help him and researching the necessary mechanics to make such a crazy plan work.

I must say that I was never bored during director and co-screenwriter Robert Zemeckis' film as he keeps a light and airy feel to the proceedings (including Gordon-Levitt's Petit talking directly to the audience throughout the piece), and despite a bit of repetition in the plot, the pace chugs along rather nicely.  However, it's that lack of tension that really does the film harm.  We all know that Petit manages to rig up the tight rope and we all know that he makes the crossing (in part because of the character's direct talking to the audience), yet in a better film, there'd still be a sense of nervousness and tension surrounding both the covert plan and the walk itself.  That doesn't happen here.

There's been some negative talk of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's accent in the flick, but I had no qualms with it whatsoever.  In fact, I found Gordon-Levitt's portrayal of Petit quite engaging as he undeniably showcases the high wire performer's drive and passion for conjuring up such a ludicrously dangerous scheme.  In fact, it's Gordon-Levitt who who adds the excitement and pizzazz to the film.

To be frank, for a film that was so highly praised for its 3D usage, I found nothing alluring or thrilling about the 3D -- sure, depth was added, but I think I'm over the 3D craze.  (Although, I must admit there was one scene where a projectile came towards the screen that caused me to jump -- which is the way I feel all these 3D movies should play out -- what's the point otherwise?)  Overall, The Walk is decent and its story is compelling -- it's just a shame that the film doesn't create the tense moments needed to really and truly succeed.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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