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The Walk

Robert Zemeckis's latest film is the true story about Phillipe Petit, an eccentric French street performer and tight rope artist, who is inspired to tight rope between the recently completed Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974 despite all the risks in front of him. Like Flight beforehand, Zemeckis is back in good form with this one, showing his skillful weaving of a good story, strong characters, and especially his mastery of special effects, with the film's centerpiece: Petite's walk between the Two Towers with absolutely flawless CGI. The Walk sequence alone is worth the price of admission whether in 2D or 3D (people queasy of heights, be warned) and is pure cinema: dream-like, filled with imagination and emotion. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is wonderfully cast as Petit, giving boundless energy and vigor, supported by cast members such as Ben Kingsley and Charlotte Le Bon who all work well together and give them enough personality to stick out as individuals. The film is a good companion piece to the documentary about Petite's exploits, Man on Wire (I personally prefer The Walk but I may need to Man on Wire again). Where I feel the film suffers though is in the first half . From the beginning of the film up to sneaking into the Towers, which is stylized very nicely as kind of like a heist movie, and the Walk sequence, the film moves at a brisk pace: slow enough that we get to know and like the characters but not enough moments of getting into Petite's head and seeing him digest a situation. As a result, there were moments where I was looking at Petit from the outside but then it started to pick up as the story moved along and I was with him emotionally by the time of the heist. It also may be because I was thinking back to Man on Wire but I was surprised when the film suddenly jumped from the preparation into the night before the heist as I was expecting more problems to arise and build even higher to the climax, so that may be another reason why I felt the film suffered a bit in the first half. Still, the film totally pays off in the end with the wonderful climax and especially with the final lingering shot, which made me miss the Twin Towers and think of when I got to visit them in the 90s. While not up there with Zemeckis's classics like Back to the Future or Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Walk is still a solidly good film and definitely deserves to be seen (and definitely needs better box office numbers). It reminded me a lot of The Polar Express, another underrated Zemeckis film, as both harken back to a more innocent and dream-filled time and have a bittersweet ending, that still makes you feel good. Same with the 2004 version of Around the World in 80 Days with its innocence, comradery and achieving an impossible dream despite the odds. Final Verdict: Despite its pacing moments in the first half, The Walk has a strong story, great performances, good characters and an absolutely amazing and inspiring finale that had me walking on air so to speak as I left the theater. I definitely say see it. Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5

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