‘The Walk’ Thrills With “High-Tension” Moments (Movie Review)

The WalkEver since I saw the trailer for The Walk in IMAX at a screen of Mad Max: Fury Road I have been enthralled about seeing it.  The weird thing though is I hate heights.  However, I’m oddly drawn to that vertigo feeling seeing a film such as The Walk on a large IMAX screen can induce.  Is that weird?  I think so, but then again I am weird so maybe it only makes sense.  Anyway, the time has finally come to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt walk that green screen stretch between at the time in 1974 the very real Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.   What say you?  You ready to take that death defying plunge in IMAX with me this week?  Don’t worry.  I assure you Joseph Gordon-Levitt will be just fine.  It’s just a movie, and remember, he’s Robin (aka The Boy Wonder) after all.  Come on.  Put your tightrope walking shoes on and following me in.

The Walk is a PG-rated, family film directed by Robert Zemeckis.  You have to admit, you don’t hear of or see too many of these anymore, PG-rated, family film that is.  It’s based on the real life story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974 (that’s only 24 days before I was born).  In addition to Boy Wonder, the film stars Iron Man 3‘s fake Mandarin, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, and Steve Valentine.

The Walk

Before we deep dive into the movie and whether it worked or not I do want to give credit where it’s deserved to Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Prior to filming The Walk, he had no former high-wire experience at all.  He trained directly with the real life Philippe Petit.  Now from he research I conducted about this film it seems Mr. Petit promised Joe that by the end of the eighth day of his training with him he would have him able to walk on the wire by himself.  By golly it happened!  That’s at least according to my sources it did.  Of course, but not to detract anything from Joe’s performance or the film at all, the historic high-wire walk was recreated on a soundstage some twelve feet off the ground.  This Joe guy never ceases to surprise us.  Gordon-Levitt also learned to speak French fluently, perfecting a Parisian accent.  Go Joe!

So yeah, Joseph Gordon-Levitt nails the role, right down to the accent and look (with complements from Kingsley in the mentor role).  Despite the very odd way the fourth wall is broken here throughout (from an uncomfortable visual narrator perspective), Joseph’s charm and charisma literally carries the picture on his back.  It’s also a very fun caper film with quirky, likable characters too so that helps it out a lot.  I can’t really say the third act completely satisfies the moviegoer in me, but the chills and thrills of the high-wire tension finale definitely doesn’t hurt things at all.  It’s the reason I’m here for The Walk after all, and in that respect it does not disappoint.

The Walk

Since I already broached the subject, let’s talk about the heights here for a brief moment.  I obviously saw this film in IMAX 3D, and I’m really happy with the way things looked (things actually pop out at you too).  I lost my stomach a couple of times because it really felt like in certain sequences that we were actually 110 stories up. I know!  Craziness!  However, that’s what I wanted.  I wanted the vertigo moments and I got them!  That’s the universal appeal of The Walk, the reason why we will all show up to show our support.  The CGI effects will dazzle, conjure up and instill fear of heights for all, unless you’re just a crazy daredevil that doesn’t value your life, then I can’t help you there.  So technically speaking, yes indeed The Walk works.  As Conan said on television last night, if you’re ever going to see a movie in 3D, see this one.  I concur.  This is a film that necessitates 3D, not the other way around.

In a nutshell, what we can deduce is The Walk boils down to a literal juggle between high-wire thrills and retelling a factual story in both an exciting (your results may very there) and visual way.  The fast-paced caper style will make you giggle as the way the narration is intermixed throughout, but it’s that insatiable fun that keeps this movie fresh and thriving despite its restrictive 70s setting (feel like I;ve seen it before) and subject matter.  Dreams do come true (the act of chasing it is the charm of The Walk), but it’s quite a stretch that we teach kids illegal tight-rope walking between the world’s two tallest buildings is one of the “highest” forms of artistry and showmanship.  However, this film kind of puts you the moviegoer in Petit’s point of view actually out there on the wire, making you feel the height (and it has the true story thing go for it too).  How could you ever ask for more there?  It’s an action movie without the carnage, like I said before…a film the whole family can enjoy.  You dig it?  Good!

So in the end, I liked The Walk a lot, but I didn’t love it nearly as much as everyone else on Rotten Taters supposedly did (to each his own).  You should still see it though!  It’s quite enjoyable, charming and…err…cute.  There I said it!  Haha!

The Walk Movie Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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