In spite of reports that this film has made people nauseaous from its realisitic capture of vertigo sensation, I am pleased to announce that I did not get sick during this absolutely fantastic film!
This is my review of The Walk!
The Walk is the true story of Phillipe Petit, a Parisian wire-walker who dreams of hanging his wire between the newly constructed Twin Towers of New York City and walking across. For the record, I say “newly constructed” because this story takes place in 1974.
The Walk reminds me of my favorite line from The Screwtape Letters: “The man who truly and disinterestedly enjoys any one thing in the world, for its own sake, and without caring two-pence what other people say about it, is by that very fact forewarmed against some of our subtlest modes of attack.”
This film is a love letter to art. It understands the mind of an artist. The script demonstrates that for people who are writers, painters, dancers, musicians, actors, chefs, pottery-makers, filmmakers, etc., everything they do is in the name of creating something out of nothing. When an artist is in his/her element, they bring themselves closer to God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, whether they realize it or not.
While the trailer made Phillipe seem like an impulsive weirdo, the final product explains Phillipe as a performer who is solely motivated by a love for art. During the first act, after he is arrested for wire-walking across Notre Dame cathedral, he laments that the French, “…do not appreciate art and beauty!” Because of his passion for artistry, his desire to walk between the Two Towers never feels like a death wish, but rather a spiritual exercise. This character is the eptitome of what it means to live and not just exist.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt disappears into the role of Phillipe Petit. He embraces the eccentricities of the main character and makes the audience understand his perspective. His French accent is quite good. It fits right in with Gordon-Levitt’s enthusiastic performance Even in his moments of selfishness and arrogance, I could still root for him because it was made clear that his flaws came from a place of passion.
Like The Imitation Game, the script is very intimate with its protagonist. The musical score sounds like something Phillipe would listen to. Every shot and frame puts us in Phillipe’s shoes. Robert Zemeckis clearly did his research and wants us to know this man as well as he does. Now that I think about that, Phillipe Petit reminded me a lot of Saint Phillip Neri. To put it simply, if you love the arts and/or Saint Phillip Neri, this might be the movie for you.
My only complaint is that the pacing of the movie is a little too fast. Granted, none of the scenes ever lag, which is great, but at times I felt that the story was moving at a rapid pace. This could be because Phillipe, a fast-talker, is narrating the story and like any good director, Robert Zemeckis accomodates to his main character by having the film move to the speed of Phillipe’s dialogue. While this gives the film a very personal feel, it may be off-putting to moviegoers who prefer a slow, steady pace.
Tips on How to Avoid Cybersickness during The Walk
Last night, I decided to do some research after learning that The Walk was causing people to get sick. What I learned is that according to studies, the reason some people experience sickness during a 3D film is because the 3D imagery is causing the brain to receive mixed messages from the senses. When 3D visuals command the screen, the eyes signal to the brain that the body is moving. However, the inner part of the ear does not pick up motion. This causes the brain to sense that something in the body is poisoned and the result is gastrointestinal, hence causing nausea and disorientation.
Sufferers from vertigo should wait for The Walk to come out on DVD. However, for those who don’t suffer from vertigo, here are the steps I took to prepare myself.
1. Eat something light and solid. Crackers, toast, a torilla, anything that is low in acidic substances will help.
2. Drink water. Buy a water at the theater, bring your own bottle, just give yourself access to water.
3. Sit as far away from the screen as you can. It has been suggested that holding one hand over one eye will help your body reset itself during dizzying sequences.
Saint Phillip Neri, pray for us.