Sunday, November 29, 2015

REVIEW: The Walk: The IMAX 3D Experience

The Walk

Joseph Gordon-Levitt,
Charlotte Le Bon


September 30, 2015 (IMAX 3D)
October 9, 2015 (WIDE)

Robert Zemeckis

Tristar Pictures

2 hours 3 minutes



Back when movies were first invented, they were considered to be something of a novelty and was meant to be an experience.  Nowadays, films are made to tell stories and show off performances, visual designs, a great script, or anything else you can imagine.  It's rare when somebody says that going to the movies is an "experience" rather than something more common.  In the case of Robert Zemeckis' latest film "The Walk," an "experience" is the best way to describe it.  The movie tells the true story of Philippe Petit, an eccentric and larger-than-life French performer who, in 1974, assembled a crew and successfully performed a high-wire act between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.  A documentary about his grand (and illegal) act called "Man on Wire" came out in 2007, but this tells the story in a more narrative fashion.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Petit, and without sugar-coating anything, it's the best performance of his career thus far.

Once you get past the French accent which, personally speaking, I didn't mind as much as others, this is Gordon-Levitt as his highest form. The character of Petit is a likable and extraordinary man who wakes up every day with a passion burning deep in his heart, and JGL captures that attitude with precision. I would bet he would have gotten a nomination for Best Actor for his performance if the competition wasn't as fierce as it is this year. Yes, he is THAT good. Ben Kingsley has a great little supporting role as Petit's mentor, and the rest of the cast works very well as an ensemble. Charlotte Le Bon, in particular, stands out from he other supporting actors, as she is simply delightful and engaging on screen. Her chemistry with Gordon-Levitt is very enjoyable to watch, even when they're not exactly seeing eye to eye with one another. All in all, there isn't a single bad performance featured in this movie.

Probably the most attention given to this movie was for the visual effects and the use of 3D. There is a reason for that, though: both are out of this world. It's pretty easy to tell that the majority of the film was shot on green screens and soundstages, I will admit.  Take that away, though, and it still feels like the characters are in New York looking at the Twin Towers, and when Petit is walking between the towers, you feel like you're right there with him. The 3D increases this feeling strongly, and that alone makes me believe that it is necessary to pay the surcharge and see this in 3D. There are several "pop-out" moments featured during the movie, but the 3D is necessary because of the added feeling of immersion given.

Robert Zemeckis and Christopher Browne have together written a well-paced, funny, intense, and overall engaging little caper that never dragged or made me bored.  Regarding the actual directing done, this is Zemeckis at his finest.  Everything felt so tightly knit, and everything felt necessary to what was presented in my eyes.  Nothing felt out of place or had the need to be cut out in my eyes.  The last time I felt this type of love for a Zemeckis film was "Forrest Gump."  That might sound hard to believe, but you just have to see this film to see maybe what I'm talking about. It's a true shame that this didn't do as well as other 3D movies that came out around the same time, as this is 2015's definition of the term "movie magic" to me.

I never expected this to be a surefire awards contender, but the fact that barely anyone gave this movie a chance makes me upset inside.  Maybe one-day people will see this masterful piece of work and realize that this was meant to be seen on the biggest screen possible.  Speaking of which, seeing this in IMAX 3D was such a surreal experience.  Everything about this movie is perfection, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I saw it.  "The Walk" is a work of art in my eyes and is a beautifully crafted love letter to film fans, high-wire enthusiasts, the grand city of New York, and the Twin Towers of World Trade Center.  In fact, I'd say that this is as close to a perfect tribute to the buildings and those the world lost on September 11, 2001, as we're ever going to get.


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