The Walk

Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, and Steve Valentine

It's amazing how each movie season seems to have a theme or trend.  I said this a couple of weeks ago, but this fall movie season is all about adaptations.  It's being proven once again this weekend at the box office by the two big releases of the hour.  In one corner, we have Ridley Scott's The Martian, an adaptation of Andy Weir's 2011 novel of the same name.  In the other corner, we have Robert Zemeckis's The Walk, a biographical film on the life of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit.  Ladies and gentlemen, let the adaptations keep on coming.

We've all seen street artists at some point over the years, but never one quite like Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).  This Parisian has a dream, and it's to walk on a high wire across the Twin Towers in New York City.  This is before he's even really learnt how to walk wires with the help of his mentor Papa Rudy (Sir Ben Kingsley).  This is before he befriends and begins dating fellow street artist and future partner-in-crime Annie Allix (Charlotte Le Bon).  This is before he gets a crew to assist him in this highly illicit endeavor.  Yes, Philippe has a dream, and he's willing to do anything to make it happen.  Philippe narrates the tale of his coup for us as well.

I feel like I'm about to rewrite my review of Everest.  If I'm a risk-averse individual who sees no merit whatsoever in climbing Mount Everest for the hell of it, you can only imagine what I think about walking a high-wire in the most dangerous location fathomable.  It can only be described as a death-defying stunt.  That being said, I just can't get behind the notion of a guy hanging wire atop two of the largest skyscrapers ever erected and then taking a stroll across said wire.  It’s nuts even though it is true.  Despite all of my reservations, The Walk is in the hands of Robert Zemeckis and is undoubtedly well-crafted.

Zemeckis employs a number of cinematic devices throughout The Walk to make it as magical as any film in his filmography.  You can see it in the bright, colorful cinematography and cloud-filled visuals.  You can hear it in the majestic, bravado score.  You can feel it in every death-defying walk laced with suspense.  Yes, Zemeckis brings his A-game to the film by delivering a wonder-filled adventure, but I'm still somehow less than enamored with the final product.

The cast brings their best to the big screen as well.  For his part as our lead character Philippe Petit, Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a delightfully self-centered performance.  Bent on his dream and his dream alone, he pushes himself to the limit without regard or concern for others.  He really gives us a crazy little egotistical man.  For his part as Papa Rudy, Sir Ben Kingsley is one strict taskmaster.  He has his ways and installs wisdom throughout the film.  The veteran actor's presence is definitely felt whenever he's on screen.  Finally, we have the charming Charlotte Le Bon as the supportive Annie Allix.  With her warmth, she's definitely the glue holding everything together for Philippe's coup.

Without a shadow of doubt, The Walk is a well-made film.  It's just not terribly engaging.  Zemeckis and his cast can try to make this premise engaging as much as they want, but it just hinders the film.  I just can't get behind this movie.  With this in mind, The Walk gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a few glasses of Frascati with this one.