“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it.” ‘The Walk’, directed by Robert Zemeckis takes this line from the movie, ‘In pursuit of happyness’ to twin-tower heights. The ones expecting this film to be just another trials and tribulations tale of a high-wire artist are sure to be in for some surprise, thanks to the witty narration and incredible cinematography by Dariusz Wolski.
Based on the life of Philippe Petit, and his book, ‘To Reach the Cloud’, ‘The Walk’ is narrated by the lead actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (That guy cycling past the streets in ‘Premium Rush’). The way Joseph Gordon-Levitt narrates the film keeps you invested throughout, right from Paris where the story begins, to New York where it concludes. Not a moment does he let you check your cellphone. Heck, what transpires on screen even makes you wish there wasn’t an interval here.
Well, just a wishful thinking in our nation with overactive bladders and hyperactive appetite, so there’s a merciless break in the middle of an engaging screenplay brilliantly crafted by Robert Zemeckis and Christopher Browne. The only thing on your mind all throughout the interval is: Are they going to make it? Is Philippe’s character narrating the story alive or is it his ghost narrating his glorious feat? Now when was the last time you cursed the multiplex guys for slicing a film midway?
Enough of ranting folks, but ‘The Walk’ engages you to the core and let me reiterate, it isn’t just about an impossible ‘coup’ to pull off, but an ultimate tribute to every artist on this planet. It’s a film that I strongly recommend to artist of every kind. I bet you’d end up watching it twice (Like yours truly) and still yearn for more (ditto).
By the time you reach home after watching ‘The Walk’, you’d realize that Philippe Petit’s character isn’t merely a circus acrobat, but an artist. He calls himself an artist and makes sure he’s treated as one. He respects his ‘circle’ even on a street-side performance, helps and respects another artist (Charlotte Le Bon as Annie Allix) – the girl singing with a guitar on the other end of the street.
He forms a team of accomplices who believe in his dream and vision, apprentices under an old hat, Papa Rudy (Played to perfection by Ben Kingsley) and eventually learns to respect his audience and feel gratitude with a ‘salut’ in French. Precisely what we feel for director Robert Zemeckis after watching ‘The Walk’.
PS: The Twin Towers that Philippe Petit once conquered doesn’t exist anymore. In his book, ‘To reach the cloud’, Philippe writes: “When the towers again twin-tickle the clouds, I offer to walk again, to be the expression of the builders’ collective voice.” Alas, his wish couldn’t come true as the resurrected building is now a single tower. Hélas (Alas).