Visually stunning with fantastic performances by Gordon-Levitt and Kingsley make this probably one of the best Zemeckis films since Cast Away.
Robert Zemeckis’ The Walk is an aesthetically pleasing and beautifully crafted piece of cinema that has it all: charm, wit and stunning cinematography. This film will captivate audiences and leave them on the edge of their seats.
The film follows the life of high wire performer Phillipe Petite, who in 1974 left the world speechless after performing a shockingly high tightrope walk between the towers of the World Trade Centre in New York. The film depicts his life from his beginnings as a street performer right through to his first daredevil stunts, staying ever faithful to his autobiography but without ever dragging on.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s narration and performance as Phillipe immediately grows on the audience, drawing us into his story and causing us to sympathize with his cause as we learn of his adventures whilst sharing his joys and sorrows. His relationship with Papa Rudy (Sir Ben Kingsley) is as heartwarming as it is amusing throughout the film, which contrasts with his slightly ambiguous relationship with Annie; a love story which seems to start and end very suddenly without much back story making it feel a bit unnecessary.
Secondary characters however, add moments of humour amidst the darker scenes which keep the audience entertained. This, coupled with the experimental colour palette, music, and use of both French and English make this film feel very much like a fusion of French and American cinema. When the characters of the film travel from Paris to New York, the film itself travels too, crossing the boundaries between artistic European and typical Hollywood cinema, which can be appreciated as a work of art as well as a means of entertainment.
The scene of the walk itself, despite being photographically impressive lacks the tension and shock-horror that the trailer suggests. The moments leading up to the event are more thrilling than the final scene itself, which unfortunately makes this moment quite forgettable. On top of this, the entire scene seems to drag on longer than it should. Despite its faults though, the film is still very entertaining and will delight audiences of all kinds.
The Walk (2015), directed by Robert Zemeckis, is distributed in the UK by Sony Pictures. Certificate PG.