I guess my life consisting of watching movies and then reviewing them isn’t so exciting after all.
This is the true story that took place on August 7th 1974, when a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between New York’s twin towers, then the world’s tallest buildings. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released.
Basically this is a dude who everybody knows as “that dude who walked on a wire between the twin towers” however, it’s still a great story none the less and one that I’m really surprised wasn’t tackled until 2008.
The subject material is just so rich that just about everything that this film throws at you works. I know that the story itself is real, and that nobody was really harmed but the fact that the film still made me have a lump in my throat just about every time he even thought about stepping on that wire, shows that this film really can work despite knowing the outcome. It also helps that I’m a total bitch when it comes to heights so there is that factor as well.
Director James Marsh does a great job here of making this film seem like something you wouldn’t normally expect right from hearing what it’s all about. Marsh makes the look and feel of this film as if it were a heist its self with people talking about what they were going to do, how they were going to do it, and just giving you this total feeling like something is up and that not everything is exactly what it seems to be. This isn’t you normal and average documentary, it has a lot of thrills to it and it’s also great that Marsh was able to find so many pictures, videos, and etc. for this subject to give you the full feel of what you’re seeing here is real.
The real reason why this film is so fun is because of the star himself, Philippe Petit. Petit is a total nut-job who doesn’t really have any real reason for why he wire-walks, it just gives him the high of being in a new world and he enjoys taking huge risks. The guy is a lot of fun to watch on-screen every time he is talking about what’s going on in his head, with his crew, and just everything else we would want to know from a dude that could have died if he messed up just one little step. He’s a fun guy to watch, but he is also the main problem with this film as well.
Don’t get me wrong by what I say here, Petit is a very charming guy but at the end of the film I started to realize that this dude was kind of a dick head after all. After he’s done his momentous achievement he goes off and bones some chick who just wants his wire-walking ass in bed, even though he has a lady for him waiting at home. I’m not a big fan of dudes that cheat on their girlfriends but his infidelities wasn’t all that bothered me. Petit’s friends that also insisted him with this “mission” were all exiled from the U.S. and it’s almost like Petit didn’t care because he was just way too busy talking about himself and everything that he did for about 15 minutes. I mean these were the people, that if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be up there in the first place buddy so go ahead and enjoy the fame you have, just don’t be surprised if when you get back home, nobody wants to see you at all.
Despite these problems with Petit himself, the film still carried an emotional wallop that I was not expecting one bit. As the film starts to come to an end, you see how all of the people involved with this moment reflect on what they did and how they’re happy to be apart of it and you realize just how lucky people can be to apart of one moment that will stay in their minds for the rest of their lives. It shows the real beauty that can come with any certain happening that may not be a total world-changer, but just may be something that is a work of art and shows you that you can do anything you want if you put your mind, heart, and soul to it even though I will probably never do such a thing like this in my life. Yes, everybody, I am still a total bitch.
Consensus: Man on Wire features some very rich source material that not only knows how to entertain and inform, but also make you feel suspense as to you having no idea what’s going to happen but at the end when it’s clear the effect that this moment had on everybody involved, then the documentary really works.