Few films must be seen in IMAX, but The Walk is a film worth dishing out the extra money for. Based on a true story, Joseph Gordon Levitt plays the high wire artist Philippe Petit, who gained fame in 1974 by walking between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. As Robbie Collin of The Telegraph astutely concludes, director Robert Zemeckis’ vision is “an almost avant-garde game of composition, movement and perspective, exhilaratingly attuned to form and space. (Mad Max: Fury Road did the same.) The camerawork is subtle and meticulous, the 3D head-spinningly well-applied.”
For anyone familiar with this story, the interesting Man on Wire documentary (which can be found on Netflix) chronicles Petit’s preparations for the act, but Zemeckis’ depiction of the act itself is incredibly satisfying. As another movie critic once said: the best special effects are the ones you can’t see. Of course, The Walk is full of special effects, but most of them remain largely unnoticed by the audience. Thanks to the film’s use of IMAX technology, the movie experience was immersive and awe-inspiring. Part of the films believability lies in those effects, coupled with Levitt’s great performance. You, the audience, are part of his journey. You feel his joy, anxiety, and wonder. The film’s raison d’être is similar to the recently released Everest: strive to accomplish the impossible. However, The Walk ends very differently than Everest.
Now, I have to admit: I did not think I could put up with Levitt’s French accent. It seemed really annoying in the trailers, but, in the context of the film, it worked well. Also, as promised by the trailers, the film’s premise was infused with heist–movie elements. I think this helped to give every aspect of the film purpose, no minute was wasted. And I can’t emphasize this enough: seeing this film in IMAX isn’t a gimmick, it’s a must. When Petit finally gets on that wire, you feel like you’re on there with him. Now, if you are likely to experience a feeling of vertigo, you may want to stay away from The Walk.
I honestly can’t think of a negative aspect about the film. The acting was great, the effects were beyond real, and the story contained its fair share of suspense and heart. If you were like me, and have no background knowledge of the events of this film, please keep it that way and enjoy the ride.
Was the film worth seeing in IMAX? Let us know in the comments. Also be sure to look out for our audio-only, podcast review of this film.