The Walk pleases with story and style

The documentary Man on Wire gets Zemeck-ified!

The Walk is directed by Robert Zemeckis, the guy behind films like Back To The Future and Forrest Gump, and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Clement Sibony and Ben Kingsley.

The film tells the famous story of Philippe Petit (played by Gordon-Levitt), a French troubadour, and how he shocked the world as he dared to place a wire at the top of the Twin Towers and walk on it. With the help of his girlfriend, Annie (Le Bon), and a team of adventurists, Petit attempts to show the world, and himself, what he’s made of.

I went into the theater expecting a little bit of a flop. It seemed like Robert Zemeckis, a director that I mostly have faith in, came across a new CGI technology and wanted to make this film primarily for the reason of showing it off.

I’m glad to say that I didn’t get that.

Instead I got a pleasantly exciting, heart-warming, fun experience at the theater.

The first thing that came into my mind while watching this film was how light-hearted it was. After seeing Zemeckis’ last film Flight, I was expecting a more serious, dark tone, one that would fit in an Oscar contender. From the opening shot, the film guarantees a brighter feel, something with a little more bounce to it, a little more jazz. I don’t really know what to make of this, whether it’s a positive or a negative; the shock value was interesting.

I also appreciated how the movie moved along, doing a good job of maintaining plot, while keeping the audience engaged throughout.

In the end, the movie did look pretty good. The 3D style of viewing was most positive throughout the last third of the film. Looking down at the city of Manhattan from over 100 stories up was extraordinaryand other areas of cinematography were handled very well and in a creative fashion.

The CGI is there and you can tell when and where it’s present. It may be a bit overused at times, especially throughout the narrative of the film, but it won’t completely pull you out of the story. It starts to get annoying when the CGI becomes something that the film starts relying on, and although the film comes close to that threshold, it doesn’t cross it far enough to become irritating. However, I digress when I say that the climax was amazing all-in-all.

For me, the acting was just about as shaky and fragile as a wire itself. Gordon-Levitt’s notorious French accent is a little grating to the ears at first, but it heals over as time goes on and as he gets more and more accustomed to it. Most of the ragtag team of adventurists are pretty good too, including Le Bon and Sibony. A few, on the other hand, did not impress me as much. The suave inside-man, the insecure nerd, the stoner, although humorous at times, could’ve been cut out from the film and it wouldn’t really do any harm.

All-in-all, I was surprised by The Walk. I don’t think this is exactly Oscar material, but it is a good time at the movies, and if you have some free time, I highly recommend checking this one out.

by Graham Hartlaub

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