Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. United Kingdom/USA, 2008. Discovery Films, BBC Storyville, UK Film Council, Wall to Wall, Red Box Films. Based on the book To Reach The Clouds by Philippe Petit. Cinematography by Igor Martinovic. Produced by Simon Chin. Music by Michael Nyman, J. Ralph. Production Design by Sharon Lomofsky. Costume Design by Kathryn Nixon. Film Editing by Jinx Godfrey. Academy Awards 2008. Boston Film Critics Awards 2008. Gotham Awards 2008. Independent Spirit Awards 2008. Las Vegas Film Critics Awards 2008. National Board of Review Awards 2008. New York Film Critics Awards 2008. Online Film Critics Awards 2008. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2008. Washington Film Critics Awards 2008.
Most documentaries provide information, this one actually captures passion. Philippe Petit was a young Frenchman with a dream: high-wire walking caught his fancy as a child and for some reason, the projected building of the Twin Towers in New York City gave him something to fantasize about. Petit made it his life’s goal, after many years’ experience as funambulist, of walking a tight-rope suspended between the two towers and, along with the friends he amassed over time thanks to his Pied Piper personality, made it happen. The footage that captured his amazing stunt, one which took New York City’s imagination by storm and was dubbed “the artistic crime of the century”, has been skilfully woven into some new footage and interviews with the real people involved as we get to witness a magnificent achievement by someone in possession of what seems at first to be the most inane goal. What Petit did in less than an hour, endangering his life not to mention breaking the law, was to live his dream and, as you’re watching this beautifully crafted documentary, create new ones for those watching him dare. The fact that he did it all in bell bottoms and then celebrated by getting laid with some random chick makes it all the cooler. Michael Nyman’s gorgeous music perfectly scores this exciting film about passion and commitment, one that lovingly captures the brief romance between a daring thinker and a bygone symbol that no longer exists.