Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

The Walk (2015)

the walk
Image rights belong to TriStar Productions, ImageMovers, LStar Capital, TriStar Pictures

The Walk – Film Review

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Synopsis: An account of the story of high wire artist Philippe Petit and his incredible and very dangerous mission to hang a high wire between the two towers of the World Trade Centre, and walk on it.

Review: For many people,  images of the old Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre will sadly be forever associated with the terrible events of September 11th 2001. And while the images of the atrocities of that day may never be vanquished from people’s minds, one must not forget that the buildings, whilst still under construction were at the centre of what has since been called “the artistic crime of the century,” when an insane French high wire artist strung a wire between the two buildings and walked on it, a distance of a whole 1,387 feet between man and a terrifying fall to the ground below.

The subject of this daring and somewhat mad story has already been the subject of James Marsh’s Oscar winning documentary Man on Wire. When asked why the awful events of 9/11 are not mentioned in his documentary Marsh said that the act by Petit was: “incredibly beautiful” and that it “would be unfair and wrong to infect his story with any mention, discussion or imagery of the Towers being destroyed.” With this film it is clear Zemeckis is going for a similar effect, it is almost a love letter to the buildings, to remember the Towers for what they were, and of course to retell the tale of Petit’s stunning feat. The big selling point of Zemeckis’s tale however, is to put the audience on that wire, to put you in his shoes when he took those first steps, and it does this with great effect.

The process to get to that point goes back to Petit’s days as a street performer in France,with Petit narrating the story atop the Statue of Liberty, and when he sees a picture of the towers, he has his Eureka! moment and sets about on his mission to walk on a wire between the buildings.  Along the way he recruits a number of people, most notably his girlfriend Annie (Charlotte Le Bon) and Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), the latter of whom helps him hone his craft as high wire artist. The pace of this first half of the movie is somewhat slow and overly long at times, but the interest is not lost. It is when we arrive in the Big Apple that the real planning begins, and the film turns into an exciting heist film, although nothing gets taken, except quite possibly the audience’s breath. The towers have been beautifully recreated by Zemeckis and his team, and when the mission to string the wire between the buildings is being carried out, it carries a lot of suspense with it, as the mission could have easily been over before it began.

Joseph Gordon Levitt certainly brings his usual charisma and charm to the role of Petit, except if you’re a man who has a mission to walk between two of the tallest buildings in the world, you’re going to have something of an ego, and unfortunately he does carry this ego, and at times, he can be an extremely obnoxious t**t, even when talking to his girlfriend who is doing everything she can to help him carry out his dream, and also to his team of assembled contributors. For the most part, JGL has the French accent on point, but there are times when it falters a little bit. Nevertheless, the story remains engaging and when we get to the act itself, it is truly majestic, incredible to behold and incredibly suspenseful although for the viewer who has a fear of heights, it might make it uncomfortable viewing.

With the most subtle of gestures it is clear that the film and filmmakers pay great respect to those who lost their lives during horrific events of 9/11, and indeed the film was dedicated to those who died that day. With that in mind, the film serves a reminder to the watching viewer, as the tagline reminds us” every dream begins with a single step,” and your dreams are obtainable also, even if they are as wacky and downright dangerous as Petit’s was.

With a somewhat slow opening, a film like this could easily dragged down to mediocrity, but JGL’s performance is of a solid standard, and with Zemeckis’s expert direction, the walk itself is truly spectacular to watch, particularly in IMAX 3D. 

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Posted in Film Feature

Top 10: Most Anticipated Autumn/Winter Films (2015-2016)

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Summer movie season is officially over, and we now enter Oscar season territory, the time when studios release their films that they hope will be celebrating come Oscar season next February . There has been some great cinema so far this year, but there’s some very interesting pictures on the schedule. So without further ado, I give you my 10 most anticipated films of the next few months.

First up I have a few honourable mentions. The first of these is The Danish Girl, this is a new film from Tom Hooper, director of The King’s Speech and Les Miserables, winner of 4 and 3 Oscars respectively, and this looks like it has lots of awards potential with Eddie Redmayne being strongly tipped to get a second Oscar in succession. The second is Steve Jobs, the second film attempting to tell the story of the legendary Apple CEO. The first Jobs film with Ashton Kutcher I have not seen but it did not get the best reception, however with Aaron Sorkin on screenplay duties and Danny Boyle behind the camera, there is scope for greatness. The Good Dinosaur, this summer’s Inside Out is my favourite film of the year thus far, and thus Pixar could be on a roll with two original pieces of work this year. Last but not least is Joy. Despite having one of my favourite actresses in Jennifer Lawrence, I am not entirely sold just yet, and although David O Russell is in the director’s chair, the teaser didn’t blow my mind, but I remain hopeful given David O Russell’s track record of previous films with J Law. With that done it’s time for the top 10 and we start with:

10. Bridge of Spies

Tom Hanks (left) stars in Steven Spielberg's (right) Untitled Cold War spy thriller, which is the true story of James Donovan, an attorney who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.

Steven Spielberg’s follow up to his 2012 picture Lincoln, reuniting with Tom Hanks once again, set in the Cold War focusing on one man’s efforts to save a pilot trapped in the Soviet Union. The time period, the director and cast all look great so here’s hoping for more excellence from arguably the greatest director working today.

 

9. Everest

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It would be easy for a film like this to decide to shoot on green screen, as was the case (for obvious reasons) with 2013’s Gravity. But the fact that the crew actually went to some pretty dangerous, mountainous locations will definitely give this film a real authenticity, and here’s hoping that the story is just as enthralling because it looks like it will be.

 

8. Black Mass

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Could this be the return to form for Johnny Depp? His films as of late have all been pretty much panned, the likes of Mortdecai and Transcendence come to mind, but in this picture, it definitely looks like it could be that much needed comeback for Depp and early reception is looking very promising indeed.

 

7. The Martian

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Ridley Scott’s recent films have also not had the best of receptions. However, this film adapted from the hugely popular novel by Andy Weir also could be the return to form for the great British director. He knows the sci-fi genre well with Blade Runner, Alien and Prometheus. With Matt Damon in a role that bears a throwback to his role in last year’s Interstellar, so here’s hoping.

 

6. Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

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Katniss’s story will finally be brought to a close this November. Judging from the trailer, it looks like this will make up for the lack of action that left many audiences wanting in the first part, and if you’ve read the book, you know there is going to be some fireworks! Be prepared!

 

5. The Revenant

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Alejandro González Iñárritu’s next film after his Oscar winning Birdman looks very intriguing with Leo DiCaprio in the lead role as a man who is after his comrades after being left for dead. The trailer alone boasts some astounding cinematography and this MIGHT just be the role that FINALLY lands DiCaprio that long overdue Academy Award. 

4. The Walk

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“The artistic crime of the century,” what many people call Philip Petit’s remarkable feat as he tightrope walked between the two Twin Towers in 1974. With Robert Zemeckis on directing duties and Joseph Gordon Levitt as Petit, this will hopefully be an amazing cinematic experience that will get audiences on the edge of their seat.

 

3. The Hateful Eight

THE HATEFUL EIGHT

Mr Quentin Tarantino’s next film hit a bunch of production problems. It wasn’t happening at one time after a script leak, but it is and the teaser trailer is awesome. Teases that tension that Tarantino is brilliant at but does not reveal any major plot points. With a top notch cast including Sam Jackson, Bruce Dern and Kurt Russell, this could well be another great addition to the Tarantino filmography.

 

2. Spectre

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The follow up to the phenomenally successful Skyfall, Sam Mendes is back as director and so too is Daniel Craig. This time we’re reuniting Bond with villainous organisation SPECTRE and the trailers so far have been awesome and with two time Oscar winning actor Christoph Waltz as the main antagonist, there’s every chance we could see the best Bond villain the franchise.

And my most anticipated movie of Autumn/Winter is:

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1: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

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Are you surprised? Like many people I am a huge fan of this franchise and this film has got me extremely excited. When it was announced that a new trilogy was on the way I was a bit sceptical but with JJ Abrams as director, and the very talented cast they have assembled, with an exciting mix of Star Wars veterans and newcomers, I am sold. The trailers have been very intriguing and quite rightly everything is under close wraps. With JJ Abrams’ past work in reviving Star Trek as anything to go by, this should be the return to form that the Star Wars franchise needs, due to er, the unfortunate event of those prequels. The first of a new planned trilogy and with many more films on the slate, Star Wars isn’t going anywhere, and all the better for it.

There we have it, my top 10 most anticipated Autumn/ Winter films. What are your most anticipated movies of this upcoming Oscar season? Any movies on my list that you feel should not be on there? Comment below and tell me what you think. Or you can tweet me at @Martin_rich_91. We should be in for a great few months of cinema!