Right up front, I have to admit my bias when it comes to The Walk, the new film from Robert Zemeckis about high-wire artist Philippe Petit, played by the ever-energetic and engaging Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I am an unabashed fan of Man on Wire, the Academy Award-winning documentary on Petit’s insane scheme to rig a high wire between the World Trade Center towers back in 1974.
This mad genius told his own story, with the able assistance of his co-conspirators, and made his “artistic crime of the century” a feat the likes of which we will never see again, because it was larger and more significant than the mere act itself — it was art. Zemeckis downgrades the entire affair to a broad and jokey “heist” adventure with colorful characters and the final spectacle — the mesmerizing walk that aims to induce vertigo. Why focus on looking down, when this should be about the uplifting sense of crossing the heavens? (PG) Grade: C-