Man on Wire

In Man on Wire Philippe Petit captured the world’s attention in 1974 when he walked across a high wire between New York’s Twin Towers. This Oscar winner for Best Documentary explores the preparations that went into the stunt as well as the event and its aftermath. I didn’t remember this feat back in 1974. Too glued to the Watergate scandal. I was skeptical about how exciting a documentary about a French wire walker could be. It was riveting from start to finish. Because of the way it is creatively directed and shot, not to mention the gorgeous and unique views of the World Trade Center, you will easily forget that you are watching a documentary. Few movies make me hold my breath, but I definitely did during the footage of Philippe’s performance as he tight-roped between the Twin Towers. It was mind blowing to say the least. I had a rush of adrenaline just from watching the camera look down the building. For those of you who watched a Wallenda cross Niagara Falls with a frickin’ safety cable hooked to his waist…you ain’t seen nothin’! This documentary builds up to one of the greatest and most dangerous feats/stunts ever concocted. No safety cable, no TV networks, no permission granted. Just one crazy Frenchman 1500 feet above the streets of New York City. Unlike Wallenda, Phillipe Petit did not have help in getting approval for his feat. Most of the film delves into the planning and subterfuge that went into the making of the walk possible. The movie tells the story through narratives by Petit himself and his various accomplices, reenactments, and footage from the 70s. Petit himself is also incredibly articulate as he describes his passion. He is no mere stuntman but a true artist. This film portrays his enthusiasm for life and for his art. Man on Wireis an extremely well-told true story that is part heist, part Rocky, and part French art film. The movie is part heist because the wire-walker did not have permission to do his walk, so he had to break in and set up his wire. It is part Rocky, since it’s a story about an underdog fighting for his dream. It’s part French art film because the wire-walker has the outlook of a French artist. The wire-walker is also very passionate, and his passion is quite infectious. A man with a group of supportive friends accomplished something unthinkable and absolutely unbelievable simply because he believed in his dream and let nothing stop him. Would he be considered crazy? Many people will say “yes.” Yet, once you watch this brilliantly-done documentary you will realize that there is so much more to him, his friends, and their sprit, that just labeling them crazy is an understatement. What they accomplished is simply amazing. From the concept, to the hard work (near impossible) of planning, all the way through to performance time, this story will deeply inspire you. When it came to theaters, I noticed that all the film critics were giving it high praise, so I decided I would rent it when it came out. Watching the movie on DVD, I was amazed at how extremely well the story is told. I wish I had gone to the theater to see it on the big screen. Bitter-sweet — seeing the construction of the Twin Towers, then the built Towers, and now knowing their fate. Adding to the film is the incredible score, a CD I play all the time. The snippets of music heard during the film are played in their entirety on the CD, and the result is piece after piece of gorgeous music. It’s a fascinating story of a dream and its manifestation. To see this man’s dream and events on that day is amazing to watch. This is a must-see film for anyone who thinks that their dream is impossible, or who needs the support in knowing that anything is possible. I promise you will share your experience about Man on Wire with all of your friends. A movie for all ages. I highly recommend this movie to a wide audience. My only regret is that the rest of our country is off watching typical Hollywood movies, rather than a beautifully charming and well-made unique film like Man on Wire. A quote from movie: “It was once in a lifetime.” Well-done documentary. One of the best documentaries I’ve ever watched, as well as one of my all-time favorite films. I highly recommend this unforgettable story. Love the documentary. I plan to buy this movie for my own personal library. A must-see movie. What a great story! Amazing story! Documentary 2008 PG-13 94 minutes.




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