If there’s one Hollywood filmmaker who knows his special effects, it’s Robert Zemeckis. Films like Beowulf, A Christmas Carol and The Polar Express cemented his reputation as a force to be reckoned with. The Walk is the latest, most thrilling addition to his filmography.
The Walk tells the story of Philippe Petit, a high-wire artist who walked a tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974. Though this was highly illegal and dangerous, it’s something that Petit simply had to do. The journey between the Twin Towers proves easier than the road leading up to it. Fortunately, Petit has his "accomplices" to help him overcome the obstacles. Whether or not Philippe’s coup will be successful forms the crux of the intriguing plot.
As the title states, the plot is primarily about Philippe’s walk across the towers. However, the film is so much more than just that. It shows us what goes through the mind of a performer. It shows us that any performance is as much mental as it is physical. It shows us the failures and eventual triumphs of a man that some branded a delinquent, but others considered a true artist.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the perfect choice for bringing this character to life. He has everything from Petit’s accent to mannerisms down pat. The actor brings the perfect amount of ingenuity, whimsy and seriousness to his performance. But he’s far from the only star of the film. The Walk also features stellar performances by noteworthy supporting actors. Ben Kingsley is delightful as Papa Rudy, who served as something of a mentor to Petit. Charlotte Le Bon, who plays Petit’s girlfriend Annie, is charming in her role. She perfectly depicts the dilemma between wanting to support her significant other, while being worried sick about him. James Badge Dale and Ben Schwartz are also outstanding in their parts.
The Walk‘s stellar performances are further enhanced by the breathtaking visual effects. Zemeckis‘ film is about as aesthetically pleasing as it could get. Petit’s walk displays some of the finest VFX Hollywood has seen in a while. There is also something to be said about the film’s simplicity. Though his team was perfectly capable of creating grand, larger-than-life visuals, the filmmaker relies on minimalism and simplicity to make his point. And it works.
The only drawback of the film is its tonality. The Walk is much more light-hearted than the trailer led audiences to believe. This is definitely not a bad thing, since the film is charming, whimsical and delightful. However, it might be a little disappointing to viewers who were expecting a more dramatic retelling of Petit’s story. Don’t let this make you write the film off, though. The Walk is joyous, celebratory and definitely worth a watch.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
The Walk is engaging, without ever overdoing the drama. The film features top-notch visual effects, which are second only to its stellar performances. Watch it in IMAX for an unforgettable experience.