It's time to get high at the movies … in a visual way. Take a journey up 110 stories and 1,362 feet to the top of the World Trade Center to relive Philippe Petit's famous tightrope walk of 1974, when the French aerialist broke into the buildings before they were officially open, strung his high-wire between the Twin Towers and traipsed between them. The Walk, out Friday, Oct. 2 follows the true story of Petit, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who sought to complete the largest coup of his life, and the very hilarious and helpful accomplices he picked up along the way to help him achieve his dream.
Director Robert Zemeckis of Cast Away, Forrest Gump, and Back to the Future fame debuted the movie at the Jaeger-LeCoultre- and Fiji Water-sponsored premiere during the New York Film Festival over the weekend, along with his cast, Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Steve Valentine, James Badge Dale, and Ben Schwartz. We attended, and it was an ideal setting to debut such a New York story. The Walk captures the essence of someone who came to America with a dream, and more significantly, offers a nostalgic look at the power of the Twin Towers. In this movie, they are characters themselves. We heard gasps when the Towers first came into view and sniffles at the end of the film when the camera pans out to a pre-9/11 lower Manhattan skyline. It was quite emotional.
While the sight of the Towers is extraordinary, what is most thrilling about the movie is just the fun of watching it. The film is already being lauded for its visual effects, partly for recreating the beloved Twin Towers and partly for creating such realistic depth in "The Walk" scene that it feels like you're right alongside Petit as he takes one foot off the building and puts it onto his poorly-strung cables. In fact, it feels so real that it's being reported people are getting vertigo in theaters from just watching it. It's one of those movies that you have to see at the theaters—3D and Imax maximize the intensity of the experience. We saw it in 3D and we left the theater thinking wow.
In the 2008 documentary about the same high-wire walk, Man on Wire, Petit said, "life should be lived on the edge." The Walk takes that idea to the next level. While you may never walk a high-wire like this Frenchman did, this film serves as a reminder to follow your dreams and believe in the possibilities of life. Petit's legacy, as proven in the film, is that sometimes all it takes to feel alive is a step in a new direction.
Watch a trailer for The Walk below.