Man on Wire (2008)


If I die, what a beautiful death!

— Philippe Petit

Man on Wire took bouquets of awards, including the Oscar for Best Documentary at this past award show season. It has been on numerous top ten lists. It also has a Metacritc score of 89. I have to ask the question, “What’s the big deal?”

Director James Marsh recreates the events that happened to tightrope walker, Philippe Petit in this talking head/dramatic recreation narrative infused with actual footage of Petit practicing his infamous wire walk.

I went into this movie having high expectations that I would be blown away by it, but I wasn’t. Let me just say that I didn’t hate the movie. I liked it, but I had some problems with it.

Here are my problems with it:

  • I don’t know if it was my player, but I could get the French translation from Petit’s former girlfriend and one of the people that participated in that walk on August 4, 1974.
  • I had no idea who anyone was. The way a new person was introduced with hokey, trying to be edgy. Fail.
  • The broken narrative did not excite me. Going from his previous walks in Notre Dame, the bridge towers in Sydney interlaced the “heist” of the WTC walk took away from the dramatic tension.
  • The out-of-place stock footage and the cheesy was unnecessary.
  • Also, when the doc won the Oscar. I knew that I might not like it.
  • Lastly, I wish that Philippe Petit was not in the movie. Him in the documentary takes away the suspense of “Did he survive the walk?” We all know the answer. Why should we care? Philippe Petit was not that likable to root for him to succeed.

Judgment: This movie is not my cup of tea, but I think others will enjoy it.

Rating: **1/2


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on April 9, 2009, in 2008, Academy Award Winner, Best Documentary, Documentary, Foreign Language and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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