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Man on Wire

September 5, 2010

Man on Wire (2007)
Director: James Marsh

Synopsis: A documentary charting Philippe Petit’s brazen attempt to cross the Twin Towers by tightrope in 1974.

Review: Surprisingly lauded on its release, Man on Wire is one of those films where the fascinating subject matter has perhaps clouded any real debate on the actual merits of the documentary itself. Apart from attesting to the awe-inspiring skill and bravery of French tightrope walker, Philippe Petit, the documentary adds little extra frisson or understanding to Petit’s genius. A lot of the original footage stems from Petit and his team anyway, and the dramatic reconstructions from director James Marsh seem like overdone attempts to honour the eccentric spirit of his protagonists (he films pastiches of their various capers). The truth is that the camaraderie of Petit and his merry-band of misfits speaks for itself, and perhaps their story might have been better told from a straighter, more reverent perspective. (August 2009)

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