Newest Review: ... The film is set out like a crime film, showing Petit and his team of accomplices planning their break-in to the World Trade Centre, and the... more
A truly awe inspiring documentary
Man on Wire (DVD)
Member Name: huggy2009
Man on Wire (DVD)
Advantages: Beautiful, story, editing and cinematography
Man on Wire is not a film starring Denzel Washington about a corrupt cop, it is possibly the greatest documentary ever made.
The story is about Philippe Petit, a French wirewalker, who walked on a wire 1,350 feet between the tops of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers. Upon touching down at ground level he was immediately arrested, but this film is about why a man would want to do this and how he did it.
Petit comes across as a man driven by a romantic desire to achieve death defying feats (He previously did similar stunts at Sydney Harbour Bridge and Notre Dame Cathedral. He is less scared of falling to his death than being stopped from attempting his walk.
The documentary becomes so exciting as we follow Petit in explaining how the wire walk was organised logistically by Philippe his then girlfriend, Annie (A woman who he cheated on days after the feat as she accepts that he entered the world of celebrity), plus a wide array of American's of varying degrees of sanity. There are re-enactments of the narrative done in a way that simply makes you feel more a part of this daring, romanticised ruse.
The film doesn't discuss subsequent events at the Twin Towers, although these are obviously not far from the viewers mind at any point whilst watching this wonderful film.
There are excellent clips from Philippe's home video files of his practice for the event in beautiful French fields and there are some interesting stories of how the Twin Towers were built with wonderful footage.
The film doesn't romanticise Petit overly, it portrays him as he portrays himself, as an acrobat and entertainer in the best French traditions. He does show his obsessions at times with both the towers and himself and this makes the whole story so much more interesting, it is honest, candid, well shot and beautifully edited, This is a documentary par excellence which doesn't seek to justify its subject but in the best traditions of documentary allows them to justify themselves and through this allows us a deeper image of them as a person.
Watching Petit in action is amazing, a man at ease at great heights, this documentary explains why he did it, and in doing so offers glimpses into his unease at life on its surface.
This is a great DVD with an interesting making of section, the Director James Marsh has really gone to town on this and it is well worth the £4.44 at Amazon.
Summary: A truly awe inspiring documentary