Tristar (Steve Starkey, Tom Rothman, Jack Rapke &
W: Robert Zemeckis & Christopher Browne [based on the
book "To Reach The Clouds" by Philippe Petit]
DP: Dariusz Wolski
Ed: Jeremiah O'Driscoll
Mus: Alan Silvestri
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Philippe Petit), Charlotte Le Bon
(Annie Allix), James Badge Dale (Jean-Pierre), Clément Sibony (Jean-Louis), Ben Kingsley (Papa Rudy)
The story of Philippe Petit's daring (and illegal)
tightrope walk between the North and South Tower's of the World Trade Centre was tackled previously in the 2008 documentary Man On Wire (qv). This is a dramatisation of the same
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the French daredevil, narrating
his story from his perch atop the Statue of Liberty as the Twin Towers fill the backdrop.
From a struggling street entertainer in Paris, Petit
becomes inspired to perform the stunt when he sees the article of the world's (then) tallest building in a newspaper.
The film focuses on his preparation, both in the skills of
tightrope walking and assembling a team who help him make the illegal set-up a possibility.
There's a lot of filler before the film reaches its
potential, and the scenes involving the walk itself are full of gripping drama, even though it's clear that this nerves-of-steel feat has a happy ending.
Probably not a good film to watch if you suffer from
vertigo, as the swirling camerawork and visual effects do make it feel as though you're perched on top of the world.
A curious choice for director Robert Zemeckis, but he does
a splendid job with the recreation, even though the majority of the film does feel like a love letter to a famous landmark which sadly doesn't exist anymore, while the biggest gripe is that
the French accents of the American cast sound like something more suited to Monty Python & The Holy Grail.