When he was a boy Philippe Petit saw a sketch of the world's tallest set of twin towers planned to be built in New York City. At that moment he imagined a wire between the two finished buildings and someone -- him! -- walking between them. He had never walked on a wire, and the towers were only an architect's dream, but to Philippe it seemed that the twin towers would be built specifically for this purpose: As a platform for him to wirewalk in the sky.
The rest of Philippe's life was spent in preparing for this inevitability. Learning how to walk a tight rope. Organizing a team. Waiting for the towers to be built. Stealthily casing them before they were completed. Planning the stunt. And then the hair-raising event itself in 1974. With an eye to both history and publicity, a lot of this prep work in the years before were filmed, and that footage is mixed with re-enactments to create an amazing document of an artist unleashed.
This compact, intense, burning grenade of a documentary -- much like Philipe himself -- radiates laser energy and the beauty of something as perfect as a line between two towers in the sky. It is a nearly perfect documentary. It is the only film reviewed by
Man on Wire is an astounding, astonishing, head-shaking, exhilarating conquest of the impossible. It made my heart soar.
Man on Wire
2008, 94 min.
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