An Unorthodox Masterpiece: Man On Wire

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An Unorthodox Masterpiece: Man On Wire

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Man On Wire follows an entertainer’s passion: a . . . unique passion, but a passion nonetheless. Philippe Petit, ever since the age of 17, has had a dream of walking rope on top of the World Trade Centers. At the time of 1974, the World Trade Centers are still under construction, but are close enough to being finished. Needless to say, Philippe will need to break in and perform the act before security and police notice. We learn of the eccentric Philippe and his history, and of his ultimate, final performance.

There is a lot of good to talk about here, and very little (if any) bad. First of all, the presentation of this movie is perfect. It uses a combination of reenactments and actual footage to recreate Philippe’s life. The editing they use over their dialogue is very minimalistic, which is a good thing for documentaries, as not to distract the viewer. Among other things I liked was the build up to Philippe rope walking the Empire State Building, where they sprinkle throughout the movie how they painstakingly got up there, and slowly set up the rope, all without creating attention.

Philippe’s take on what he is doing is interesting, and provides a unique perspective other than “What is that idiot doing?” He views it less as a stunt and more as a distinct perspective of a combination of beauty, harmless rebellion, and, “Living life on the edge.” In the literal most sense of the phrase, he lays down, kneels, prays, and even taunts the police officers while “working” (Who are understandably equal parts angry and confused). Philippe may be called by some a mad man, but to him what he did was no different than an artist painting his best work.

Man On Wire is, as of time of writing this: One of the best movies I’ve ever seen, period. We get to see the perspective of a man doing something, that while many considered ridiculous or stupid, he considered an artform, and the history that ultimately lead to this “crime.”

Man On Wire gets a 10/10. I cannot simply recommend it enough.