The Walk [IMAX/3D]
An entertaining biographic film that was visually exciting and buoyed by Robert Zemeckis' remarkable use of 3D and achored by Joseph Gordon-Levitt's boyish, faux-french charms.
A technically superb film but its effects occassionally usurped and distracted from the story. The First Act started off promising with Gordon-Levitt, and his initially-distracting Parisian-accented english, and his co-stars Charlotte Le Bon and Ben Kingsley, exploring Phillippe Petit's initial desire and need to be a wire walker.
However, despite all their rom-com-esque charm (think: JGL and Zooey Deschanel's 500 Days of Summer) and Kingsley stealing his scenes, there was a distinct lack of heart. We do not really know who is Phillippe and why he wants to do what he wants to do. Zemeckis used lots of voice-overs to try to bring that acrosss, but Gordon-Levitt's faux-french voice work - and what was shown on screen - did not hel pto convey that across. And it is this lack of empathy that led to the Third Act feeling rushed and expected.
Similarly, because we know of Petit's story, Zemeckis had the immense challenge to make the process entertaining and engaging. The heist-element could have been that, but except for the introduction of James Badge Dale's character and a great scene by César Domboy (with Gordon-Leveitt), there was not much emotional investment for the audience.
Kudos to JGL for his wire-walking skills and that unfaltering accent (which because it was consistent, became less distracting). And it was his wire-walking skill that really helped to sell the climatic moment, although - like aforementioned - parts of it appeared too CGI. Partially, also because we know that the original Twin Towers are sadly not present anymore.
Gordon-Levitt has his charms and really sold on the manical energy of Petit, however there was no depth in his characterisation. The best actors were Kingsley who did much with a small role, and the French actors, Domboy and Clément Sibomy - who both should have been given more to do.
After the desolated beauty of Mars in The Martian, cinematographer Dariusz Wolski gave us another beautiful landscape, but this time of the urban jungle that is NYC and the more romantic concrete of Paris.
Unfortunately, the music by Alan Silvestri was rather pedestrian and forgettable, failing to lift the narrative.
If nothing else, Robert Zemeckis truly knows and understands how to utilise the latest cinematic technologies. Although not like James Cameron who pushes the boundaries, Zemeckis' use of technology often served to enable him to tell a story beyond the limits of reality.
The film was both an ode to Philippe Petit and to the city of New York, and nothing made it more clear than the last scene/frame. Maybe it's time to catch James Marsh's Man on Wire which I missed.