Movie Review: The Walk


The international wake-up call symbol for terrorism, the Twin Towers, represented an obsession with Frenchman Philippe Petit more than 40 years ago.


There’re 3 reasons we know his name. He managed to fulfill his dream of walking between the towers on a high wire 417 meters above ground in 1974. He wrote a book To Reach The Clouds about a feat that earned him a place in history without killing/maiming himself. Finally, it’s been released as a visually stunning movie so you can relive the heart-stopping stunt involving 2 iconic buildings that don’t exist anymore.


UrbanWire caught this film in 3D and though some quick online research will tell you he made it across a shocking 6 times, we still felt shivers down our spines when he finally completes his 45-minute performance across the towers.


It’s a day’s wait before he even takes his first steps on the wire, because setting up the perfect conditions to break the law in another country takes time, but it’s well worth it. The moment is truly mesmerizing.There’s also a scene where a hard hat drops from a hundred stories, so watch out for that – it really got our palms sweating.

Philippe Petite (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in TriStar Pictures' THE WALK.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the daredevil superbly, with a very natural French accent. The Jewish American child star was, after all, described as a French speaker in a 2007 New York Times profile and he studied French poetry in Columbia University before dropping out. Gordon-Levitt, who also defied death daily and made our pulses race in Premium Rush sells us on the man’s passion.


He also humanizes Petit so we don’t write off the dreamer, whose inspiring story was made into a documentary in 2008, as a lunatic or some attention-craving street performer. Although in recent times Nik Wallenda walked across the Niagara Falls also on a tightrope.


What is clear is Petit is wired (pardon the pun) quite differently. Where mere mortals think we’re closer to death even at the thought of walking a tightrope, he thinks that the feat makes him feel the closest to being alive.


The flick also has decent pace, and we appreciate the scenes of his childhood and early days, as opposed to diving straight into the planning of his big walk. While the main focus of the movie was the walk, we really liked the peek into his past and what led him to his feat.


Unfortunately, the story of his friendships with his main accomplices Jean-Louis (Clément Sibony) and Jeff (César Domboy) and romantic relationship with Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) are poorly developed. Of course, the movie’s essence is Petit’s story, but he couldn’t have completed ‘le coup’ without the aid of his partners in crime and it would help for us to understand their struggles too. We’ll bet that helping a wirewalker set up shop between the 2 highest towers on the planet (at the time) was no walk in the park. After all, they were aiding their friend in breaking the law and in a more attention-grabbing way.


The French have sayings that revolve around cooking, including “les carrottes sont cuites,” or “the carrots are cooked” which means what’s been done can’t be undone, which is used multiple times in the film for comic relief. If I had to make up a French culinary idiom to summarise The Walk, it’d be “the lemon cake lacks icing”. The confection looks absolutely gorgeous and it tastes refreshing as it is, but if its storyline and depth matched its beauty, that would be the icing on the cake.


[xrr rating=3.5/5 display_as=textstars label=”Our Rating:”]



Release Date: 22 October 2015

Runtime: 123 minutes

Language: English

Rating: PG – Some intense sequences

Genre: Adventure, Biography, Drama

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, Clément Sibony, César Domboy, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, Benedict Samuel