Sunday, August 24, 2008

Man on Wire

A superb documentary with huge amounts of gravitas, unlike Philippe Petit, the tightrope-walking artist subject of the film. Director James Marsh pieces together a docudrama, with some scenes recreated, which at the beginning seemed like it was going to be like less outstanding films like "Wanderlust," the IFC film about road movies that was put alongside a cheesy subplot about budding filmmakers, but within minutes, it is very clear that it is very necessary. The film is elegantly woven, flashing back from minutes before the main event to France to tell the backstory, the other great works of art that Petit pulled off in his career, and how highwire walking became his dream. Before the walk between the World Trade Center towers (which is the gig that made Petit famous and renowned), he walked between church towers in France and over a bridge in Sydney near the opera house. But this was no real preparation for what he would do next, which could be classified as insane. And I would agree. But it's also an amazing piece of art, and Petit is a virtuoso performer. He is dazzling and, unlike many, he can actually put on a show when he is high up. Yes, this is the most amazing part of the movie, but the happenings leading up are worthwhile, too, especially when Petit and one of his accomplices are hiding from guards under a blanket. It's absolutely hilarious, and it actually made me laugh the most of any movie this year. Also, the way of presenting the people giving the interviews was also very humorous. Anyways, the main event is not actually showed in video, but done very well with pictures and actually can work as well as the picture book about Petit, the Caldecott-winning "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers" by Mordecai Gerstein, which is in itself an experience. It only uses pictures, yet still is an experience. This movie is amazing, not only for not name-dropping about the terrible events that occurred on September 11 and being it's own, but for being as mind-blowing as it probably was for Philippe Petit himself, before stepping out on that line. I know it's August right now, and this statement might be trumped, but this is the best film of the year so far and you can quote me on that, as it is a work of art, a great piece of documentary filmmaking, and a frontrunner for Best Documentary in my eyes. A

No comments: