Of Big Dreams and Creative Crimes (Man on Wire reviewed)


Man on Wire (UK/USA, 2008)

Seen: Wednesday, 8th April 2009 (cinema)
Runtime: 94′
Director: James Marsh
Production House: Discovery Films, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Red Box Films, UK Film Council, Wall to Wall
Plot: This is a documentary about Philippe Petit and the team behind him. Petit is a French tight rope walker, who has performed in some very strange and dangerous places (illegally of course). His life’s dream was to hang a rope between the Twin Towers in New York and perform there. After years of planning, Philippe Petit performed the feat on the 7th of August 1974.

Scene from the Film

There’s also a great interview from Sundance here (it features more clips from the film). I don’t recommend the trailer, but it’s in my film spotting post if anyone wants a look.

Impressions In Short
I’m quite wowed - haven’t seen many documentaries in this league. Not surprised this has won so many awards.

More About the Film
I only wanted to see this because there was a lot of buzz about it. Neither the topic matter nor the trailer had me particularly interested. I am extremely glad I went despite that though *grin*
One of the beautiful things about this documentary is that one ends up giggling through most of it. I think it’s the only documentary I’ve ever watched which had me giggling so much (and the other people in the cinema actually joined in for a change ;) ). What is described is completely absurd and impossible and yet it really happened. The details of their plans and how everything panned out in the end is what makes you laugh your head off, especially in the way it’s told (Philippe Petit is very expressive *grin*).
The characters in the film are so colourful. Every single person on the team is a very vivid personality and you feel like you’re watching characters in a feature film. I think it’s the first time I’ve felt like that watching a documentary. Although Philippe Petit is the star and totally carries the film, my favourite character was actually one of his closest accomplices - Jean-Louis. I related to Jean-Louis very strongly.
Naturally, the film is also beautifully shot and has a great soundtrack (mostly well known classical pieces, but they really go well with the content).
While it’s an excellent documentary, I think that there’s an additional reason it has gotten this much attention - it sort of reminds people that the World Trade Center used to stand for big dreams, not terrorism and tragedy.
All in all it’s extremely inspiring. My biggest dreams are very simple and realistic in comparison ;) After a story like this I cannot help but think I should just go ahead and start working on them *grin*

Definitely :) I don’t really know why somebody wouldn’t enjoy this film (I went with my parents to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves), but there were a couple of walkouts during the film (my mum didn’t even notice them because she was so engrossed ;) ), so clearly not everyone agrees with me ;)

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