“The Walk” is a movie that will haunt your dreams long after you have seen it. In 3D it is an exceptional film that brings you into the characters’ environment rather than creating a distraction of visuals flying at your face.

This true story of Philippe Petit, who threaded and walked a tightrope cable between the Twin Towers in 1974 when he was only 24, lends itself completely to the use of 3D.

The story behind Petit’s unimaginable feat works well, due largely to the skill of the actors. As the film begins, you get a sense that Petit, played superbly by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is totally out of his mind – in his world the ultimate goal is to provide amazement to those who will watch.

He is obsessed, yet supremely riveted on the skills he needs to build to achieve his objectives. Awed as a young boy by the feats of tightrope walkers in a circus, he sets out to learn their art with the driven focus of a madman. In the end, you understand his vision because through this film you become the wire-walker.

Gordon-Levitt captures Petit’s intensity – that of a soldier fighting a battle with the gravity that ties us to earth – a driven, optimistic drummer marching to his own beat.

As always, Gordon-Levitt prepared extensively for the role, learning juggling, magic tricks and wire walking from the master, Petit himself. The real-life characters surrounding Petit are also fascinating. James Badge Dale as a conman chameleon with a gleam in his eye, Cesar Domboy as a sensitive math whiz with a devastating fear of heights, Ben Kingsley as the patriarch of a circus tightrope family who mentors Petit with the expertise of many years in the art. Charlotte Le Bon is charming, strong and real as Petit’s girlfriend.

“The Walk” was a ten-year project for director Robert Zemeckis. It pulls together elements of his greatest films, all widely different styles. Zemeckis and his team have mastered the art of storytelling and the technique of 3D. Zemeckis and Christopher Brown, who has worked with the director since graduating from film school, wrote the screenplay directly from Petit’s book, “To Reach the Clouds”. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski and the special effects team captured some incredible visuals from unbelievable viewpoints. Editor Jeremiah O’Driscoll made the story flow. Veteran composer Alan Silvestri created a gorgeous soundtrack incorporating folk, jazz and rock music from the period. Much of the action takes place at night or in low light, offering an eerie, mysterious, almost black and white look. The muted colors let the steel of the Twin Towers gleam. Light and dark mix and play against each other. Petit is constantly reaching for the light.

Indeed, the engineering and visual precision necessary for great 3D cinematography reflect the virtuosity needed to rig a steel cable between two 110-story buildings. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center become lead characters in this film, and the movie is a glorious poetic ode to those tragic buildings.

Rated PG; Run time:123 Minutes

Limited Release 9/30, Nationwide Release 10/9

Kathryn Whitney Boole was drawn into the entertainment industry as a kid and never left. It has been the backdrop for many awesome adventures with crazy creative people. She now works as a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kwboole@gmail.com

For previously published reviews see https://kwboole.wordpress.com

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