Man on Wire

Man on Wire

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Man on Wire

If the World Trade Centre were standing today, it’s inconceivable that a slender bloke in black ballet shoes would try to tightrope-walk between its twin towers. Yet that’s exactly what French funambulist Philippe Petit did in 1974, in what would become known as “the artistic crime of the century”. In this documentary, members of Petit’s original team of accomplices, as well as his long-suffering girlfriend, recall the events of the day – codenamed “le coup” – in mesmerising detail, while Petit himself relives each second as though it was his last.

What emerges is a portrait of obsessive determination, superhuman focus and massive, joyous lunacy. Images of the towers provide a powerful but unspoken allegory for a lost era, when characters like Petit were able to get away with dangerous and illegal stunts in a spirit of death-defying rebellion, without receiving more than a slap on the wrist. Sufferers of vertigo will watch this documentary in an almost unbearable state of tension, but even those with a head for heights will squirm at images of Petit poised on the edge of what was a 450-metre drop between towers. It doesn’t matter that Petit survived the stunt – after all, here he is talking about it 30 years later – you still anticipate a horrible splat. [source: NZFF]

Best Documentary - Academy Awards 2009, BAFTA Awards 2009. World Cinema Jury Prize and Audience Award - Sundance Film Festival 2008.
2008Rating: PG, for some sexuality and nudity, and drug references94 minsUK
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Reviews & comments

Stunning and romantic.

If you like that sort of characters (don't ask why, there is no why), check out another Frenchman called Alain Robert. He was in 60 minutes not so long ago. In spite of suffering from vertigo he climbs the highest towers, without any safety device. Who said romance was about living safe?

5.0
0

A piece of the Twin Towers history that was not know to me

Marvellous. Motivational, insirational and captivating. Couldnt help thinking of the parallels with our own AJ Hackett. dont miss this one.

5.0
0

Very inspirational

You will learn that Phillipe Petit is actually a very unusual man. This documentary is powerful because it serves as insight into a weird character. It's not just about the Twin Towers stunt, but mostly about the way in which Petit lives his life and how he succeeds or suffers because of it. Made me want to do something great.

5.0
0

Great viewing

I saw this on a plane - amazing the romantic gall of this weirdly fascinating man, who walks for 45 minutes back and forth on a piece of wire suspended 400 metres up between the twin towers, laughing at the police who threaten to get a helicopter to come and pluck him off it! (No common sense regarding air currents I guess) No safety net and he's just spent...

5.0
0
Variety

Variety

press

One of the most wildly entertaining docs of recent years.

0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

Thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.

0
Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

press

Man on Wire is about the vanquishing of the towers by bravery and joy, not by terrorism.

0
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

Stunning doco about the artistic crime of the century.

5.0
0
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

press

This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century.

0
Film Threat

Film Threat

press

Pre the events of 9/11, the film might have simply been an entertaining, high risk tale of a death-defying feat related in both interviews, archival footage and photos and Marsh's usual meticulous and creative re-enactment vignettes. Post 9/11 you find yourself marveling that a man in far away France became smitten with the twin towers long before they became the target of terrorist attacks.

4.0
0
Variety

Variety

press

One of the most wildly entertaining docs of recent years.

0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

Thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.

0
Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert

press

Man on Wire is about the vanquishing of the towers by bravery and joy, not by terrorism.

0
New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

Stunning doco about the artistic crime of the century.

5.0
0
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

press

This is a police procedural, if you will, about what's been called the artistic crime of the century.

0
Film Threat

Film Threat

press

Pre the events of 9/11, the film might have simply been an entertaining, high risk tale of a death-defying feat related in both interviews, archival footage and photos and Marsh's usual meticulous and creative re-enactment vignettes. Post 9/11 you find yourself marveling that a man in far away France became smitten with the twin towers long before they became the target of terrorist attacks.

4.0
0

Stunning and romantic.

If you like that sort of characters (don't ask why, there is no why), check out another Frenchman called Alain Robert. He was in 60 minutes not so long ago. In spite of suffering from vertigo he climbs the highest towers, without any safety device. Who said romance was about living safe?

5.0
0

A piece of the Twin Towers history that was not know to me

Marvellous. Motivational, insirational and captivating. Couldnt help thinking of the parallels with our own AJ Hackett. dont miss this one.

5.0
0

Very inspirational

You will learn that Phillipe Petit is actually a very unusual man. This documentary is powerful because it serves as insight into a weird character. It's not just about the Twin Towers stunt, but mostly about the way in which Petit lives his life and how he succeeds or suffers because of it. Made me want to do something great.

5.0
0

Great viewing

I saw this on a plane - amazing the romantic gall of this weirdly fascinating man, who walks for 45 minutes back and forth on a piece of wire suspended 400 metres up between the twin towers, laughing at the police who threaten to get a helicopter to come and pluck him off it! (No common sense regarding air currents I guess) No safety net and he's just...

5.0
0