On August 7, 1974, French street performer Philippe Petit captured the world's attention by attempting—and pulling off—the impossible: a wire-walking performance between the roofs of the World Trade Center's North and South Towers, 1,350 feet in the air. This part-mad, part-amazing feat was written about in Petit's 2002 memoir "To Reach the Clouds," later covered in James Marsh's 2008 documentary "Man on Wire," and now portrayed in a $35-million feature film from writer-director Robert Zemeckis (2012's "Flight") and co-scribe Christopher Browne. When "The Walk" takes literally to the sky in the film's second half, it is everything one could want it to be: engaging, stressful, terrifying, majestic, and oddly inspiring. To get there, however, the script must tread a lot of sketchily developed biographical filler, set predominately in the year leading up to his monumental stunt. It is arguable if Petit's life beyond his one major claim to fame warrants a two-hour picture—at least insomuch as it is captured here—but the long setup is worth wading through to get to the awesome payoff.
24-year-old Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is working the streets of Paris, performing magic, juggling and balancing acts for small receptive crowds, when a fateful trip to the dentist leads him to a magazine in the waiting room about the construction of New York City's World Trade Center. The identically sized towers are supposed to be the tallest buildings in the world, and Petit fast becomes enamored with the thought of traversing them, free of a safety line. Following training with aging wire-walking extraordinaire Uncle Rudy (Ben Kingsley), Petit and his new girlfriend, street musician Annie Allix (Charlotte Le Bon), head to Manhattan to fulfill his mission. With the buildings nearing completion, he and his appointed crew—including photographer Jean-Louis (Clement Sibony) and mathematician-with-a-fear-of-heights Jeff (César Domboy)—have but a limited window to go undetected as they perfect their wild plan and foolproof every last detail of their operation.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review