The Walk tells the fascinating true story of French acrobat Philippe Petit, who in 1974 hung a wire between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and walked on it.
Since after Forrest Gump, my favorite drama movie, was released and stole the Oscars that year, not many of Robert Zemeckis’ films have been appreciated and recognized as being his (with exceptions like Cast Away and Flight). The Walk is hopefully a return for him. A visual spectacle with a fascinating topic, The Walk delivers a fantastic storyline, lots told through constant narration from an extraordinary protagonist (like in Forrest Gump). Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivers his best performance yet as the daring French artist, nailing a French accent and perfectly capturing the heart and soul of Petit. He captures every single emotion of the character terrifically and really transforms into the role. Knowing the movie is a true story makes you think more about the movie and the person Petit is. The supporting actors including Ben Kingsley are also great, but the spotlight always seems to be pointed on Gordon-Levitt, never pulling our interest away from him, but we are often wishing a few characters were a bit more developed.
The score by Alan Silvestri, who has frequently collaborated with Zemeckis on features like Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, is once again a wonderful score, brilliant, beautiful in many aspects, and soothing to listen to. The visual effects are, of course, flawless, and absolutely amazing to look at, with the Twin Towers being shown with amazing CGI, and although some details are obviously CGI, they are still very well done, which is a great accomplishment because obvious CGI is often irritating in modern cinema. Robert Zemeckis is a master of visual effects, having perfected them in every movie he has directed. Although the film ended up focusing more on the plot than the visual beauty, it still gives enough times for the visuals to shine. The plot is always sweet, heartfelt, and has entertaining narration from Gordon-Levitt’s Petit. It focuses on Petit’s life, love, associates, and especially his daring dream and soul. It is able to entertain, touch our hearts, and bring the setting to life, while being able to avoid overused biopic cliches such as closing title cards.
The climax of the film, in which Petit finally walks the wire, is the most well-put together, compelling movie scene of the year. With such thrills and 3D effects, you are pulled from your seat to the wire with Petit. In that final 20 minutes, you can feel your heart pounding as you watch this incredible moment in history brought to life in front of you.
The Walk is entertaining, touching, visually incredible, fantastically directed and acted, and easily one of the best films of the year, and one greatest 3D experiences of the decade, following the footsteps of Gravity and Hugo.