A Different kind of Death by Rope…
[ WARNING: The review you are about to witness contains added MSG (a Maniacal Sense of Geometry) with respect to the font sizes and formatting employed. It is experimental, drastically unappealing and, like the work of Vincent van Gogh, will only be appreciated after my death. But since I’m already dead, I was like “what the heck, let’s go with it”. Readers with a history of medical seizures, recent surgery or illness, heart conditions, back problems, pregnancy, high blood pressure as well as snobbish professionals with extreme cases of compulsive-designer-nazi-behavioural patterns are advised to stay away from reading the work below. I personally guarantee that the language is still English, and will continue to be so. And yes, I’m aware I’m insufferably arrogant. ]
I hate walking. Like really- I HATE IT. I could live out my days, buried in a coffin, but walking 3 steps – NO BLOODY WAY that’s happening. So – I decided – “since I hate walking so much, let’s go watch a movie about A Walk.”
And I did. (Watch the movie – not walk). And this is why I went –
I heard there’s the Batman sidekick dude (Joseph Levitating something). So I was like – “WHY the heck is he walking in a movie?!” You know – walking is for anorexic people trying to get errr… anorexi-er… But then –another more compelling fact descended upon me – It’s a TRUE STORY. And just like that, before I know it, I’m sitting with uncomfortably large glasses in the only theatre that deserves to be called a theatre in Bombay – the IMAX one. And the movie starts. With a narration.
FRENCH! Joseph Gordon-Levitt was speaking in unspeakably fluent French! Well it was English actually (most of the time) – in a French accent – but still an extremely unnerving experience to say the least.
So – there’s the main dude, doing a French thing– in English– and you start to realise that the director went for an intentional, rather overzealous feel to the film – a bit over the top even. The characters are unnaturally dramatic and you could be forgiven for thinking that the movie was (almost) a romantic one in the beginning. I’m serious. There’s street artists trying to woo each other in the streets of Paree (that’s how the French say you should pronounce the damn word – sounds snobbish to the core if you ask me) and there’s a, how do you say it – eh-frenche konnectioone ‘Appening between ze Man – and ze Woman. Can’t get more cliché than that. But – the orthodox romance gently makes way for the bigger romance the artist has for his work. And that is TRULY when ‘The Walk’ starts coming into its own element.
The narration that keeps interposing throughout the film moves almost as fast as the story itself. From Paris (i.e. PAREEE), to New York, to the actual WALK you really came for – suddenly culminating into the realisation that – “The WALK” is a terribly misleading name. It should have been called, ironically – I may add, ‘The RUN before THE WALK’, cause that’s what this movie is really about. The planning stage of the dream finale. And yet, it is the tension that grips you the most – and the bottomless edge over which you’re constantly peering, which makes it a scarily good film.
And the best part – it’s 3D. Yeah – I actually said “Best” and “3D” in the same sentence – which is blasphemy by all standards of pure film making – but for once, it’s true! Actually frikking true! The 3D in this movie is EPIC. I actually, literally (swear on my dead life),ducked in one instance, almost slamming my face into my own knee in the theatre. Yeah – 3D ACTUALLY WORKED FOR THE FIRST GODDAMN TIME! The director – Robert Zemeckis – of ‘Forrest Gump, Cast Away and Flight’ fame ACTUALLY made the whole 3d revolution worth it. And I would tip my hat respectfully to that if I had one. (Does anyone other than me think I actually use the word “actually” rather lot? Or wait…I just realised that I actually don’t care).
Here’s a message to every other filmmaker dabbling in mid-life crisis worthy pursuits like 3D– WATCH AND LEARN from Mr Zemeckis!
But the interesting thing is, that if you step back – and continue backing away from the edge of the building (really slowly) – you’ll realise that the movie is about so much more than the inconsequential loss of weight after an evening walk. The larger overbearing point it tries to make (in my not-so-humble opinion) is about the Mad Dreams we all have – and the crazy shit we need to do to achieve it – and the judgement of your audience, who will appreciate, but never truly understand what it means to be in your position. It is also about the process of seeking Joy – and the attempts to transform the “Radically impossible” into the “Not-So-Impossible-Any-More”. Furthermore the realisation that it’s a True Story lends to its credibility, almost giving it a free – Anti-Criticism pass, especially if you, like me, found out later that they’ve nearly kept it a 100% accurate!
Then there’s tit bits like the fact that the protagonist, JGL – or the ‘guy from batman’ as we know him, actually practised tight rope walking for the movie, not falling even once during the shoot. *clap clap*. He trained with the actual–errr…. ‘real’ Philippe Petit, the guy who did the thing the movie is about. And that is some crazy non-trivial trivia stuff happening right there!
Considering I’m afraid of any height more than 6 feet (get it? – 6 feet under..? No? <insert abusive language here>) and I’m petrified of peering into anything other than a damp dark hole in the ground, I asked people what’s scarier – Being buried alive in a coffin, or peering over the edge of a high rise building? Most people went with “COFFIN” without a moments hesitation. And the only thing I concluded from their answers – is that they’re on some drugs – cause I’m pretty sure they haven’t watched ‘The WALK’ yet. (I tend to get arrogant and presumptuous about anyone who’s not me, at times… most times in fact… and errr… I hate breaking my reviews with images. Unrelated I know – but just thought you should know).
So watch the movie, and be prepared to start looking at every high-rise with a renewed sense of admiration, a… a kind of respect, mixed with dread and despair. They say (cue the Interstellar quote)– “There was a time when we looked up at the sky and wondered.” The Walk takes a rather different approach. It takes you high, then looks ahead.. and theres victory – close at hand (or feet) – at the end of the rope. And just when you think you can make it, the void calls from beneath, and the fool in you turns to look. And you see nothing but fear, staring back up at you past the edges of your feet.
They say a walk always helps calm the nerves. What they don’t mention is that the disclaimer in faded print near the bottom of that quote. It reads – “STATUTORY WARNING – Walks tend to get slightly dangerous sometimes. Proceed with caution, or you may never walk again…”