‘The Walk’ teeters on brilliance

Kate Jamison, Senior Staff Reporter

“The Walk”

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

There’s nothing like the story of a tightrope walker one misstep away from splattering on a busy New York sidewalk to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. “The Walk,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, does just that. 

“The Walk” is a captivating film telling the true story of a daring French man who dreamed of walking a tightrope between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The film features the dazzling visual effects of filmmaker and screenwriter Robert Zemeckis (“Back to the Future,” “Polar Express,” “Forrest Gump”) and the suspenseful sounds of composer Alan Silvestri. It is an inspiring story of the grit, determination and passion of French, real-life wire-walker Philippe Petit, who walked the 140 feet between the north and south towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.

Gordon-Levitt shines in this film, narrating it in its entirety standing on top of the Statue of Liberty. His love interest, Annie, is played by French-Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon. Le Bon plays the perfectly peaceful Parisian counterpart to Gordon-Levitt’s mania in his mission.

Zemeckis’ direction incorporated state-of-the-art visual effects, which were stunning in IMAX 3D, with beautiful cinematography of France, New York City and the cast. Moments of stillness were utilized perfectly in the film’s most dramatic moments, focusing on Levitt’s hand as he began his walk across the wire and on Le Bon’s face as she watched him from the ground, 110 stories below.

Silvestri’s score was nicely timed. At times, it was almost too suspenseful to the point of stressful, though, overpowering the drama of the long walk between the two towers. Overall, the score fits the cities well, calmly complementing the French countryside in the earlier scenes and exposing the chaos of New York City streets for the second part of the film. The score also moved the movie along nicely, as it felt a little long at two hours and three minutes.

“The Walk” tells a powerful story about a man who was willing to risk everything — his life, his relationship and all of his material wealth  for a dream. His passion and drive is inspiring and the mania he experiences leading up to the challenge allows for moments of raw emotion in an otherwise heart-warming movie.