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Man On Wire (2008) (1 Viewer)

Michael Reuben

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Michael Reuben
You really know how to recommend a film, Henry.
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M.
 

Michael Reuben

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Michael Reuben
Who, me? I stopped reviewing art films a long time ago. Too few people have any opportunity to see them until DVD, and those that do seldom write anything here. (If the shoes fits, Henry . . .)

I have to say, though, that this is one of those exceptional documentaries that expands one's notion of the plausible. It's the kind of story you couldn't make up: how French aerialist Philippe Petit staged his 1974 "performance" -- it deserves to be called that -- in which he and a rag-tag team of conspirators strung a cable between the almost-completed World Trade Center towers, on which Petit proceeded to walk, recline and balance for almost an hour, while pedestrians on the street below gawked in amazement.

If someone did make it up, people would fall all over themselves insisting that it couldn't possibly happen, pointing out all the implausibilities: how you couldn't get past security, how you couldn't haul the necessary equipment up 102 stories, how the winds at that height would make the rigging impossible, how you'd spend the rest of your life in jail, etc. (The documentary addresses all these points, and the nitpickers have to shut up, 'cause that's how it was.)

Then, of course, there's the question of what sort of unique individual would want to do this. One of the best things I can say about Man on Wire is that you emerge from the film feeling like you've met the man.

The story is told through contemporary interviews with Petit and his team, illustrated by photographs, home movies, news footage and animations. They are fascinating people, all of them, from the charismatic Petit to the shy Annie, his girlfriend.

Truth really is stranger than fiction. In this instance, it's also more wondrous and, as with most wonders, tinged with sadness.

M.
 

jeffreybehr

Auditioning
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Aug 21, 2008
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Jeffrey Behr
It's been showing in Phoenix for weeks. I saw it last week and LOVED it. I was 30 years old when Petit did this, but I do NOT remember it, so it was all new to me.

EXCELLENT movie.
 

Henry Gale

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Henry Gale

Sadly, I just don't. But, I had a link for a wonderful NYTimes review and then YOU wrote a good one!

I think that, like movies with subtitles, many (bozos) have a predjudice against documentaries.
It's too bad because almost all docs are great! Simply because someone was interested in the subject and the passion comes through.
As much detail as they went into, I still had questions.
They, of course, were aware of the Tower's sway, but I was curious about independant swaying popping that wire like a rubber band.
As the Time's review mentions, the film never alludes to 911.
It doesn't have to, you're thinking about it throughout.
 

Claire Panke

Second Unit
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Jul 5, 2002
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412
Michael - that was a great review.

We are in a golden age of documentary filmmaking - this is a wonderful movie and fascinating story.

BTW, I care about *good* flims, whatever their type, genre or language. I just don't see a lot of discussion about docs or art films here, except on the Sight & Sound thread, so it's nice to see Man On Wire with its own thread. Thanks for mentioning it, Henry.
 

Holadem

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Nov 4, 2000
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Yeah let's give Henry some credits, he at least creates threads for the stuff.
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H
 

Kirk Tsai

Screenwriter
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Nov 1, 2000
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Having seen the trailer, I fully expected to be astonished by Petit's incredible act. I still was, but the most surprising thing about the movie was the day/night before he actually walked on the wire. He wasn't sleep cozily in a bed or lounging around the day before. Instead, he spends more than half a day preparing for the setup, on top of the building the whole time, and then has to walk on the wire at a time of not his choosing. And then when he does, his reaction is beautiful. Really amazing stuff.
 

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