Or Man on Wire?
★★★ out of ★★★★
A Speaks Movie Review
The Walk is more of an experience than a movie. The only option at our local multiplex was IMAX 3D. There is, I'm sure, no other way.
Now, I rarely watch a movie in 3D if given a choice. I just don't like wearing the glasses. The Walk is only the second one I've seen, after 2012's Life of Pi, that actually looked good. And this one does look good. At times, it even looks great. And, at one point, it is absolutely awe-inducing.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is surprisingly effective as Petit. I say "surprisingly" because I was unsure of how well he would pull it off. He does Petit quite well, most likely due to the work he did with the real life showman in preparation for this role. He has the build, the mannerisms, the intensity, even the accent. And his origin story here is fun to watch but lacks any sort of real depth.
The Walk does well in maintaining a light, comedic tone, and plays up the caper aspect of the story in fun ways, but the documentary offers a much clearer depiction of the cast of characters that would become Petit's accomplices in what amounts to one of the most daring heists ever actually pulled off. Petit's dream, his mission, to hang his wire up there and walk on it was extremely illegal and required a small Ocean's Eleven-esque crew to pull it off. No matter which film does the storytelling better, they are both highly entertaining. This story itself is cool enough to compel pretty much anyone, no matter the approach.
With The Walk, he has focused all of his visual energy, as he did with Flight, in one flawless sequence. And that one sequence is one of the most powerful experiences I've ever had in a movie. I was literally sweating. My heart pounded. I teared up. I Oooh-ed and Aaah-ed. I muttered things like, "How the hell did they do that?" under my breath.
However, Flight was a film so rich in character development and crushing drama that the one scene of visual effects perfection was only an added bonus. Here the one scene is preceded by a movie that is entertaining throughout but really just okay. It looks great, even in 3D, all the way through, but it doesn't add anything we don't already know to Petit's story.
It's worth seeing and should be seen on that huge screen with glasses on, as I said, but, I have to be honest, if you're looking for Petit's story, Man on Wire is really what you're looking for.