Film » Film Capsules

Man on Wire

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On the morning of August 7, 1974, New Yorkers watched in awe as an unstoppable Frenchman by the name of Philippe Petit pirouetted on a tightrope between the magnificent Twin Towers without a net. Inspired by an article about the towers when they were still under construction, Petit, a juggler and tightrope walker, made it his goal to journey between what would be the two tallest buildings in the world. Directed by James Marsh, the documentary focuses mainly on the obsessive planning of Petit and his accomplices. It includes actual footage, black-and-white reenactments and intimate interviews. Man on Wire is a fearless example of following one’s dreams and facing the ultimate obstacle in life, and unveils a gripping story about a mad genius and exactly how he made it to the top of the World Trade Center without any detection. At times, listening to him recount his stunt is like watching the heist in Ocean’s Eleven unfold. Yeah, the story drags on and the introduction of different characters is confusing, but the adventure is continuously intriguing. Only a small portion of the film is dedicated to actual tightrope walking, but images of Petit 1,350 feet above ground are priceless: He spends 45 minutes in the air, lying down, kneeling and saluting. A photograph of Petit with an airplane flying above is equally eerie. Although 9/11 is never once mentioned, watching Petit dance on top of the world becomes a beautiful and emotional memorial. At 5:10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22 and at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23. HHH 1/2

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