November 28, 2015 | Rome, Italy | Sunny 9°C
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Comedy-Romantic Comedy

While We're Young

Noah Baumbach hits some true notes in a New York comedy about generational confusion..


Andrew Bujalski pokes gentle fun at fitness culture while doing romantic comedy a favor.

Mistress America

There's an unsavory side to Noah Baumbach's newest Greta Gerwig movie, and it hurts.


Red Army

This remarkable look at the Soviet hockey dynasty of the 1970s and 80s is also a passion play.



Andrey Zvyagintsev's deeply moving account of a Russian life in tatters is high on fatalism.

The End of the Tour

James Ponsoldt's dramatization of interview sessions between David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace is a gem.


It Follows

There's a Scarlet Letter admonishment built into David Robert Mitchell's mysterious horror tale.


Z for Zachariah

Craig Zobel's dystopian thriller is elevated by the controlled genius of Chiwetel Ejiofor.


H8RZ, or "haters," takes high school connivance to the outer limits and beyond.


Slow West

New Zealander John MacLean constructs a brooding Western from a host of quirky parts.

Date: 2015
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon, Clément Sibony, James Badge Dale, César Domboy, Ben Schwartz, Benedict Samuel, Steve Valentine

The Walk

On Aug. 7, 1974, French performance artist and high-wire devotee Philippe Petit strung a cable between New York City's still unfinished twin towers and cavorted 1,350-feet above Manhattan for nearly an hour. His sneaky band had repeatedly bluffed its way into a complex then under the loose custodial care of construction workers and contractors. While New Yorkers cheered Petit's feat, his early morning daring was quickly pre-empted by the resignation of Watergate-stained President Richard Nixon the next day. Those were pre-cable TV days and no one had filmed it. In fact, James Marsh's superb 2008 documentary "Man on Wire" (inspired by Petit's book "To Reach the Clouds") had only still images to show for an otherwise visually remarkable story.

Cometh special effects-loving Robert Zemeckis (of 1980s "Back to the Future" fame), who spectacularly digitizes the drama — 3D from on high — while giving it a thriller's pace and punch. By 1973, when the movie opens, the eccentric Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) was already married to daring do. He'd already made a front-page splash by walking between Notre Dame's spires in 1971 ("People ask me 'Why do you risk death?' For me, this is life.")

Smitten by the towers and encouraged by fellow street performer and lover Annie (Charlotte Le Bon), Petit schemes and practices the French countryside before taking his band on the road. Zemickis brings a light if not magically child-like feel to Petit's lifelong devotion to refusing the impossible, later using technology to ensure viewers go fully vertical. Along the way, he also flashes back to Petit's French-speaking, circus-influenced youth, tracks the adult Petit as he quarrels with his mentor-father (Ben Kingsley), builds a team, and finally makes his American landfall.

Gordon-Levitt's Petit is a delight, whipping up a sense of camaraderie and urgency as his flight of fancy takes literal flight. The film is predictably dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that destroyed both towers and claimed more than 2,400 lives.

Reviewed by: Katie McGovern
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