I’ve always thought what tightrope walkers do for a living. Now, I know they live to walk on those tightropes, because it is a passion to stand on that one line between buildings. It’s a thin line between life and death, and if you’re a good walker, you always cheat death every single time. And in those moments when then stand in space, they are walking with the clouds. That is Phillippe Petit’s passion, and he nurtured it. This passion fruited into an obsession for him, but that is understandable. This passion led him to walk between the World Trade Centers in 1974. The documentary Man On Wire is about Petit’s passion and the events that led to the walk and the actual walk itself. It won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature of 2008.
The story cuts between the actual plan of walking between the Twin Towers and Petit’s life, or rather his fascination with the Towers before they were built and what happened before the plan was put into action. The second merges into the first near the end of the movie. The fact that walking between buildings is actually illegal makes the movie seem all the more suspenseful and thrilling. You’re going along for this ride, and it’s going at breakneck speed. Every small detail is narrated by the people who made the walk happen, that is Petit and his crew. The way in which Petit narrates the story is a joy to watch. All the footage has been taken for this movie, and it’s all real, except for the dramatizations in a few parts. It doesn’t feel like a documentary…it’s a movie. Anyone who thinks that this movie is boring doesn’t have a pulse. The obstacles and emotions are all real, at least they feel that way. And you will be amazed at the walks Petit conducts on the rope. It’s like he walks in the sky. Truly amazing. There is also a good deal of humor in this movie like when Petit talks about him and the guard circling each other or when he laughs about what the police did with him after the walk. This is an experience you won’t forget.
Man On Wire is the perfect documentary, with all the elements for an astounding movie. This is one walk you will never forget.