High Wire Act Highly Entertaining — Man On Wire

January 21, 2009

MAN ON WIRE (2008)
d.  James Marsh

Phillipe Petit, the charismatic subject of this documentary, recounts his wirewalking stunt and enters the history books as the only person to ever traverse a wire strung between the Twin Towers a scant several months after the building was first erected.

It is a story he tells with relish and flair, filled with dramatic beats and tense moments. Speaking of wirewalking as his art, Phillipe turns the iconic image into a metaphoric symbol of ambition and dreams realized.

His accomplices and girlfriend of the time are on hand as well to fill out the details and provide context, and it is obvious that they too are moved by Phillipe’s grand gesture.

What amazed me about this documentary, other than the behind-the-scenes account of their strategy to infiltrate the WTC, was the vintage footage of the young schemers showing us their plans (especially the scale model of the roofs of the Twin Towers).

Man On Wire is a touching and entertaining recounting of an amazing one-of-a-kind stunt and is well worth the watch.

***1/2 stars.

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