Adventure Biography

'The Walk' DVD Review: A high-wire balancing act of human emotion

January 11, 2016Ben Mk





FEATURE: 
After September 11th, 2001, the World Trade Center Towers became ingrained in our collective consciousness as a symbol — a reminder of the thousands of lives lost in the events of that tragic day. For nearly three decades, the Twin Towers stood as a treasured part of New York City's iconic skyline. But it wasn't always that way. Before August 7th, 1974, they were largely considered an eyesore. That is, until a Frenchman named Philippe Petit brought them to life.


Based on his 2002 memoir, "To Reach the Clouds," The Walk tells the story of Petit's daredevil wire-walk across the tops of the World Trade Center Towers, and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Petit, a street performer from Paris who dreams of traveling to the Big Apple and conquering two of the tallest man-made structures in the world. With the help of his mentor Papa Rudy (Sir Ben Kingsley), girlfriend Annie (Charlotte LeBon), and a motley crew of accomplices, Philippe prepares for months to perform his spectacular feat of courage, not fully realizing the effect it will have on the world.

Told with both humor and heart, The Walk is both a character study and a funny, poignant and inspiring look at the power — and resolve — of the human spirit. With a narrative that unfolds almost as two separate and distinct halves, the first part of the movie focuses on Petit's background and how he meets the various individuals who will each play a key role in bringing his dream to fruition. Then, in the movie's second half, we finally get to witness the execution of his plans and the titular walk itself, an extended sequence shot so breathtakingly that it's certain to make your palms and the soles of your feet sweat.

Written and directed by Robert Zemeckis and co-written by Christopher Browne, The Walk doesn't position itself as a particularly serious film at the outset. In fact, the majority of the movie comes across as quite lighthearted and whimsical, and it's only as the moment of the walk itself nears that the narrative takes a turn for the dramatic. Does the approach work? Most certainly. And the result is a film that doesn't just pay tribute to Petit's amazing and awe-inspiring achievement that Summer morning — it also fittingly honors the memory of all those who perished that September morning, some 27 years after it.

AUDIO & VISUALS: 
The Walk's period production design resonates beautifully on DVD, with the digital recreations of the Twin Towers and 1970s-era New York City blending in seamlessly with the live-action footage. Hues are nicely saturated despite the movie's color palette being somewhat muted; detail is sharp enough to make out the individual heads in the crowd of people gathered on the street below; and there are no glaring image defects to speak of. The disc also sports a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix that performs quite solidly, reproducing not only the film's dialogue, period songs and oftentimes jazzy score with nice fidelity, but also environmental effects like the sound of rain, strong winds and NYC traffic.


EXTRAS: 
Sony's one-disc DVD release includes an UltraViolet digital copy and the following extra:

  • Pillars of Support (8:27) - A piece about the film's supporting characters, as well as the camaraderie among the actors who portray them.


The Walk is available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as of January 5th, 2016. The DVD features English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, Cantonese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 3 Mins.








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