On August 7, 1974 French high-wire artist Philippe Petit walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on a tightrope rigged 400m above the ground. Joseph Gordon-Levitt steps into Petit’s shoes in The Walk, a biographical drama based on this remarkable true story from Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Back To The Future). With this thrilling film out now on Blu-ray and DVD, here are five reasons to watch it.
1. For maximum realism, Gordon-Levitt learned how to walk a tightrope for real with Philippe Petit himself. “Philippe insisted that he be the one to teach me to walk on the wire first,” Gordon-Levitt recalled. “He convinced me that I was able to do it and once I believed that I could, then I did. The training was several months. I love a challenge. I love trying to do something that is hard, it makes it fulfilling to me.”
2. The climactic final scene, which unfolds dreamily over 17 minutes, features some of the most dazzlingly realistic special effects in recent memory. It’s so vivid you’ll feel as though you’re right there on the wire with Gordon-Levitt.
3. Gordon-Levitt is flanked by a classy ensemble cast that includes Oscar-winning Gandhi actor Ben Kingsley, 24‘s James Badge Dale and French-Canadian rising star Charlotte Le Bon, who helped Gordon-Levitt to perfect his French accent for the film
4. At the time, Petit’s legendary walk between the Twin Towers was a rebellious act because it was entirely unauthorised, and Gordon-Levitt has said the film is “sort of rebellious” too. “It’s a grand-scale action movie, but there’s no shooting, there’s no killing, there are no explosions,” he explained. “These are typically the hallmarks of big action movies coming out of Hollywood. When you do something different than the norm, it’s risky.”
5. The film is also a reminder that the Twin Towers were a symbol of hope and progress before the unfathomable tragedy of 9/11. “With any tragic loss, it’s also good to remember the positive things, the beautiful memories that you have,” Gordon-Levitt said. “It’s like grieving over a lost loved one. You don’t want to focus only on the death, you want to celebrate their life and that is what we wanted to do with this movie and the Twin Towers.”