Starring: Phillipe Petit, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Paul McGill
Director: James Marsh
Running Time: 94 mins
Man On Wire is a British documentary about the extraordinary, but illegal, feat completed by Philippe Petit in 1974, where he walked across a high wire between The Twin Towers in New York, creating one of the ‘great artistic crimes’ of the 20th Century.
Despite this film being quite interesting, I wasn’t really moved as much as I had expected by it. It was indeed extremely in depth, and showed the story of how Petit became so fascinated by this art, but I felt it was overwhelmingly factual rather than as emotional as was being intended.
Firstly, it was fascinating to watch this man grow up becoming obsessed with high wires and balancing acts, and although it may seem like an unorthodox hobby, it really gets you into liking and being interested in it.
Also, one of the more abstract positives of the film was the connection you got with Philippe Petit. A huge amount of the focus of the film was on the man himself and why he ended up doing this ridiculous act, so with commentaries from family and friends of his about his personality, you could really feel connected with him.
With home videos and focusses on Petit’s youth as well, it furthers your long-term understanding of the man, which allows you to go more in depth in discovering and learning more about him and why he did the high wire act, making it a lot more interesting as you watch.
However, what I was really disappointed by in this film was the lack of overall emotion and inspiration in it. Although you have the emotional side looking at the man and his personality, there were no real emotional feelings when it was telling you about the actual event.
Rather than explaining why it’s important to follow your dream and being ambitious, which was an easy possibility for this film, it focussed too much on making the ultimate event like this dramatic, action-packed bank job, and that overly Hollywoodised quality was not really entertaining or interesting to watch.
Overall, I’ll give this a 6.5, because although you could learn a lot, and understand Philippe Petit, it wasn’t as interesting or engaging emotionally as it could have actually been.