“Go see The Walk,” they say. “It’s a dizzying triumph of human perseverance,” they tell me. “Well, fuck you and the tightrope you walked in on,” I reply, because guess what? I am not going to see that movie and I won’t watch the documentary Man on Wire, either. Why? Because both films are about a rude man. Walking on a high wire is a dumb thing to do.
Let’s talk about these movies and the event that inspired them, shall we? Telling the story of Philippe Petit, a man who strutted on a high wire between the Twin Towers for 45-minutes in 1974, Man on Wire, released in 2008, was captivating enough to win an Oscar. (You know what else won an Oscar? Crash! The Oscars are meaningless.) The Walk, the fictionalized version of Petit’s so-called “accomplishment” and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, comes out this weekend.
Here’s what my coworker, the usually smart and insightful Bobby Finger, had to say about The Walk in his review:
This is the first film since Gravity that I’d recommend seeing in 3D or not at all. Zemeckis’s camera knows how to terrify and amaze its audience, and—when positioned 1,350 feet off the ground at the top of the World Trade Center—it does plenty of both. (If you suffer from vertigo, maybe avoid it.) Without that extra dimension, I fear the thrills would be gone, and that the movie would have little reason to exist. But, boy oh boy, my palms were sweating from the time he made it to the top [of the World Trade Center], to the time he was forced back down by the NYPD. I even got a little teary-eyed during JGL’s final narration, despite the fact that it was delivered atop an astoundingly fake-looking State of Liberty torch.
Sounds really intriguing. You know what else would be intriguing? A movie about a person who’s smart enough to NOT walk on a tightrope between two skyscrapers. (This is where I’ll note that I hated Gravity because, controversially, I believe that people who go into space are “asking for it.”)
Hey moron! Go lie on a bed!
Look. I get it. People like adventure and thrill-seeking. Fine. Go risk your life! Go be an idiot! But here is where my real gripe with Petit starts and ends: If you’re going to do some dangerous risk-taking, go do it somewhere that unwilling participants and witnesses won’t have to see your body splatter on pavement should something go wrong. There’s a basic politeness in performing idiotic and dangerous stunts out of the public eye. Does this mean we—heaven forbid—might miss out on your fancy tightrope walk? Yeah, it does. And I, MONSIEUR, am fine with that.
Go die on Everest! Float off into the Milky Way! Walk on a piece of rope strung in some remote canyon! I don’t care, you clown. Just don’t make me watch. Allow me to exercise the basic freedom of choice, the same freedom I will exercise when I choose NOT to see The Walk this weekend or ever.
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Images via Sony.