Man on Wire

Man on Wire PosterRating: ★★★★½

I look at the movie’s poster and instantly notice a man whose life is dependent upon that thin, almost invisible wire. That man is Philippe Petit, and on August 7, 1974, he was arrested for trespassing. More specifically, he walked, knelt, and danced on a wire he and his friends connected between the Twin Towers. I have a curiosity for extraordinary human feats and a phobia for heights, and the sight of Mr. Petit on that wire was one of the most beautiful and freighting things I have ever seen.

I think that it’s obvious that he succeeded since you cannot arrest a dead man. We all know that what he did was truly remarkable but what confounds many is his reason in doing it. Before I saw “Man on Wire”, I stared at the poster, wondering what type of individual would do this, to risk a life so much that a wrong step could end it. Crazy was the word I thought of that would describe it the best, and then I watched the movie.

“Man on Wire” is the movie where Philippe Petit, accompanied by great direction from James Marsh, explains the events and the ambitions that ultimately led to that memorable day. Early on, we learn that Philippe wanted to “conquer” those Towers when he was still very young. During my childhood, I went from wanting to become a doctor, to a herpetologist, to an actor. Now, I’m reviewing movies. Philippe stuck with his dream, convinced that it was even his destiny. He grew older and became more enthusiastic and optimistic with his goal, which is quite extreme since it was very much illegal and not even constructed yet at the time.

Philippe Petit

Being a documentary, there a lot of testimonies from the people involved on that 7th of August. But it was the testimony of Philippe himself that intrigued and amused me the most. Intrigued by his philosophies in life on how each day could be made exciting, on when the event of death can be classified as a great death. Amused by how much energy and zeal he exerts in sharing his story. He recalls the days and moments of how he and his friends were able to get to the top of those towers. His face and voice so lively all the time. He even acts out some of the most crucial moments of his adventure.

Philippe doesn’t just tell a story; he performs it. In fact, his testimony was so flawless that it even served a narration in the first person perspective during the scenes of reenactment.

The more of Philippe I got to know, the more I understood him and his lifestyle. Eventually in the movie, we arrive to the day featured in the poster. This time, I didn’t just see a man on a wire, I saw Philippe Petit, and things didn’t look so crazy anymore.

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Man on Wire