Tribute to the Twin Towers
So they showed the trailer for “The Secret Life of Pets” before “The Walk”, and I just want to reiterate how unbelievably excited for that movie I am. I’ve seen the trailer at least ten times, and it’s still hilarious. This time, fortunately, it didn’t totally outshine my feature film experience like it did with “Minions”.
“The Walk” tells the story of Phillip Pettit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a French troubadour with a dream to hang a high wire between the North and South towers of the World Trade Center and walk on it. So, yeah, you might throw up watching it.
Robert Zemeckis isn’t necessarily a household name, but he should be. He directed the “Back to the Future” trilogy, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, “Forrest Gump” and “Cast Away”. He knows what he’s doing behind a camera, and it shows in “The Walk”.
The other part of “The Walk” that works is Joseph Gordon-Levitt (obviously). The dude is a powerhouse of charisma. He’s the only one that could get away with doing a French accent for that long without making me want to rip my hair out. He breathes life into an already fascinating character.
However, despite the masterful director and charismatic lead actor, not everything about “The Walk” works. A few dumb decisions down the stretch and some content hold it back from being great.
(Spoilers) So our boy Phil is walking on the rope, right? He does it once, but no, that’s not enough. He keeps going back and forth for 30 minutes. Inherently, this is not a problem, because it’s a true story. The problem isn’t even that he lies down in the middle. The problem is that while he’s lying down, a gigantic CGI seagull with demon eyes comes out of the clouds for no apparent reason. Oh, and somebody flies a helicopter right by him while he’s walking on the wire. Call me crazy, but I really think that would’ve affected his balance. Like, a lot. (End Spoilers)
These unfortunate story decisions diminish what would otherwise have been a really immersive finale.
Additionally, be wary of the PG rating on this one. It pushes the envelope with an abundance of language that might not be the best for kids, features a little bit of male nudity (for comedy), and, if you can’t already tell, it’s pretty intense for the last half hour.
Fundamentally, I have no problem with the point being “Follow your dreams!” However, it is a painfully generic purpose for a highly unique film. When Shia Labeouf’s Ted Talk can sum up the point of your movie, you haven’t tried hard enough to communicate anything meaningful. I have created a visual representation of the point of the movie:
(If you have no clue what I’m talking about, watch this video)
All of that to say, “The Walk” has some really good things going for it. The cinematography is awe-inspiring, Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a great job of carrying the film, and Zemeckis films with confidence. Without the Hollywood idiosyncrasies, it would have been a spectacular film. If nothing else, “The Walk” treats the World Trade Center with the utmost respect, and the film stands as a worthy acknowledgement to the legacy of the towers.
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