Cinema Clips: The Walk

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s accent playing Philippe Petit, the high wire artist who walked between the Twin Towers back in 1974, sounds a lot like Sacha Baron Cohen’s over-the-top French accent in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. It grates at first, but director Robert Zemeckis overcomes this obstacle to ultimately make a movie containing some of the best visual effects you will see in a film this year. Yes, the movie drags a bit in the first half as we see Petit miming on the streets of Paris and learning how to walk a wire under the tutelage of an old, wise circus guy (Ben Kingsley). The movie soars to a new level when Petit reaches New York and, with his crew, schemes and succeeds in rigging a wire between the world’s tallest buildings at the time, and performing a high-wire act for over forty minutes as cops awaited him atop both buildings. The movie supposedly has given people vertigo attacks, and this is not surprising. If you see it in 3D IMAX, you get a very heightened sense of being on the wire with Petit, and it’s a dizzying effect for sure. There’s a story framing device that has the young Petit narrating the story from atop the Statue of Liberty’s torch, with the towers in the background, and it’s the old, rusty version of the statue. A nice touch. Overall, the film is very much worth seeing, especially its final act. The attention to detail involving the Twin Towers is astounding.

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