Film Club Review – Man on Wire
Its fascinating how a documentarian can take a subject which doesn’t seem like it would have a lot to it and turns it into an interesting and compelling story. That’s what happens here with Man on Wire, the story of a man in the 70s, Phillipe Petit, who decides to tightrope walk between the world trade center towers.
At first I wondered how there would be enough stuff here to hold my interest for 90 minutes, but that’s because I never really thought much about what would be involved. Man on Wire is really a heist film without the robbery. Phillipe and his friends had to train and prepare for this stunt and would have to have a plan for sneaking their equipment into the WTC and set it up. Very cool stuff.
The director James Marsh uses a great editing technique throughout the film. He intercuts between the execution of the plan to get into the twin towers and the history of Phillipe’s tightrope walking leading up to his biggest stunt. This is a brilliant method since it really builds up the final moment and gives it a lot of weight and importance.
What also makes this film a delight is the humour. Its not filled with jokes or anything, but the character of Phillipe is so exuberant that you can’t help but like him and chuckle at his eccentricities. In particular there is a story about crutches which really made me smile at his optimism.
This is a story about doing something amazing for no reason than to do something amazing and a reminder to ourselves that perhaps we need to be doing more of that in our lives.