The Walk (2015)

1:31 PM

Every dream begins with a single step.
 The Walk is directed by Robert Zemeckis (Back To The Future, Cast Away) and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, Looper), Ben Kingsley (Schindler's List, Shutter Island) and Charlotte Le Bon (The Hundred-Foot Legend). "In 1974, high-wire artist Philippe Petit recruits a team of people to help him realize his dream: to walk the immense void between the World Trade Centre towers". Does the walk live up to the heights of the beloved towers at the centre of the story?

The Walk is a very mediocre film - I was hoping that as time went on, my thoughts on the film would become more positive but that wasn't the case - in fact, the opposite happened. I definitely wouldn't recommend The Walk - I think it is for an acquitted taste. The film does have some good things going for it but its biggest problem is definitely the pacing - the saying 'making a mountain out of a molehill' definitely applies here as the story for The Walk isn't feature length movie material. I haven't seen the documentary 'Man on Wire' but I am sure that is far superior. 

The biggest problem I had with this film was how slow it was - this has to be the first film I've watched since The Great Gatsby where I've felt every minute of the film go by. Some scenes were 10 minutes long but could have been done in less than 2 minutes. I should think they really tried to flesh this small story out but ultimately failed. I thought the film began quite well with the first third being set in France - I thought this was good but looking back, the first third was a device to build all of the relationships and it just felt a little rushed - I don't think Annie and Phillippe's relationship is as strong as the characters act like it is when you look back at their time together in the first third of the film. The Walk just didn't have a vision - did it want to be a film about a dreamer? or did it want to be a love story? I think the dreamer aspect comes through more but I was expecting Zemeckis to be able to do much better with this film. The screenwriters could have even made this story 'loosely based on real events' and made it a little more interesting. I was just waiting for the actual walk to occur the whole film and when it did, I even felt underwhelmed then. 

The visual effects were a big selling point about this film. Now, I watched this on DVD release on a TV at home so I probably can't appreciate the effects and scope as much as those who saw it in cinemas. However, I have to say, I wasn't overly impressed with the visuals - I didn't really get a sense of height and never did from seeing the trailer in cinemas - it didn't feel real and there was just something about it that didn't make it feel that high. There were some points where I was on the edge of my seat worrying whether Phillippe would fall but that was about it. The actual walk actually became quite repetitive and annoying - you just wanted him to get off the rope already. The visual effects definitely weren't bad and were actually pretty good but they certainly didn't live up to the hype.

One good thing about this film is that it is almost a love letter to the twin towers. I thought the situation was handled very delicately and well - it wasn't directly mentioned but it was hinted at through dialogue. I thought the film does pay respect to the towers and I think that is one really good thing about the film. 

The acting is pretty solid across the board. Once you get over Joseph Gordon-Levitt's ridiculous accent, his performance is actually pretty charming and I think he did a nice job. I can understand why he didn't get any awards attention as his performance was pretty light-hearted. Ben Kingsley didn't have a huge role in the film but also did a good job - his accent was much stronger than his co-stars. Charlotte Le Bon also deserves a mention who did a nice job - this is probably the type of role Le Bon will be cast in for most of her career as she does it very well. 

The Walk is a disappointing film that I wanted to like but the pacing and stretched out story were key factors in losing my attention and appreciation for the film. The visual effects were impressive but not good enough to rave about or get any major awards buzz over. The film is like a love letter to the twin towers which is probably the best way to sum up the film. The actual walk goes on for a little too long and does make you wonder why they made a whole film about this - it had a nice undertone of reaching your dreams though. Gordon-Levitt is charming, Kingsley is underused but strong and Le Bon is sweet - The Walk may have you wanting to walk out from watching the film and to be honest, I'm not going to stop you.

2.5 STARS
C

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