You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘The Walk’ Looks Like a Tricky Balancing Act For Awards Voters

Several films have become classics due to one key sequence: for example, “Ben-Hur” with its chariot race and “Bullitt” with the car chase. TriStar’s “The Walk” is another film where the climactic final scene will be what viewers remember most — so is that enough to interest awards voters?

The Walk” tells the true story of Philippe Petit’s tightrope walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, just as construction was being completed. The tale was first told in the 2008 Oscar-winning documentary, “Man on Wire” — which some say is still fresh, possibly too fresh, in many viewers’ minds.

The first hour is foreplay (with director Robert Zemeckis offering some fun use of 3D), the next 30 minutes is a suspense-building caper — and the final half-hour is a heart-stopping sequence that is so expertly realized that it could earn the film awards attention.

“Walk” begins an IMAX platform release Wednesday and opens wide Oct. 9. The cinematography and visual effects make it imperative to see in a theater  (what a concept: film business voters seeing a film in a cinema, rather than at home!).

In the climactic sequence, the flashiest work is from the visual effects team under VFX supervisor Kevin Baillie; they created layers of complexity in each shot, which was undoubtedly more difficult due to 3D considerations. But don’t overlook the cinematography of Dariusz Wolski, editing of Jeremiah O’Driscoll and the production design of Naomi Shohan and music by Alan Silvestri.

Will acclaim for below-the-line work catapult the film into other Oscar categories, such as director and best pic? It’s too soon to tell, especially since some film festival titles that are currently hot will cool off by December. Having more popcorn movies in consideration this year, such as “The Walk” and “The Martian,” could be a welcome change of pace. Another wild card is “Star Wars,” which was nominated for best pic in 1978. With so much industry affection for the franchise, the force could be with the latest installment.

Despite the white-knuckle half-hour and coda (a subtle but effective reminder of 9/11), “The Walk” has a light-hearted tone, though it’s not likely to make it onto the Golden Globes comedy ballot. It’s mostly a caper pic; like the protagonist in “Ocean’s Eleven,” Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) carefully builds his team of conspirators before his amazing, law-breaking act. And it’s basically played for laughs.

Gordon-Levitt’s performance has all the requisite elements that actors usually love, including an accent and a physical transformation. His French accent may be a little ooh-la-la for some, but footage of Petit shows that Gordon-Levitt got it right. His performance is more jaunty and twinkle-eyed than most of the heavy-duty work that actors are doing this year — so competing with the rest of the oh-so-serious actors will be a tricky balancing act.

More Film

  • Sylvester Stallone

    Cannes: Sylvester Stallone Says 'Rambo' Wasn't 'Meant to Be a Political Statement'

    The final day of Cannes was devoted to honoring Sylvester Stallone, who conducted a masterclass on the Croisette, where he looked back at his 43-year career and discussed how he never intended “Rambo” to get so political. Thousands queued outside the Salle Debussy to sit down with the star and gave him a raucous standing [...]

  • Women in Animation, Les Femmes s’Animent

    Women in Animation, Les Femmes s’Animent Announce World Summit Lineup

      CANNES–Women in Animation (WIA) and Les Femmes s’Animent (LFA) have announced the program lineup and initial list of speakers for the third Women in Animation World Summit, which will take place June 10 in conjunction with the Annecy Intl. Animation Festival and Mifa. The summit will feature a day-long symposium of panels and discussions [...]

  • Chloe Sevigny Podcast

    Chloë Sevigny on That Time Bill Murray Took Her for a Joyride in a Cop Car

    If there’s one thing Bill Murray’s co-stars can depend on, it’s that the comedic actor will give them a good time. Just ask Chloë Sevigny and Adam Driver, who play fellow police officers opposite Murray in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy “The Dead Don’t Die.” “He brought us on a joyride in a cop car,” Sevigny [...]

  • 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Pushed Back Due

    'Sonic the Hedgehog' Movie Pushed Back to 2020 Due to Character Design Changes

    Paramount Pictures is pushing its “Sonic the Hedgehog” movie back three months, from Nov. 8 to Valentine’s Day. The delay follows fan criticism over the appearance and design of the titular blue hedgehog — particularly his teeth and lean legs. Director Jeff Fowler tweeted that it was “taking a little more time to make Sonic [...]

  • Aladdin

    Box Office: 'Aladdin' Flies to $7 Million on Thursday Night

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” flew to $7 million during Thursday night previews in North America. That’s well above the $5.7 million that “Pokemon Detective Pikachu” earned two weeks ago on its way to a $54 million three-day opening. Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” took in $5.5 million in previews on the [...]

  • Cannes The Square Winner

    SF Studios Acquires Nordic Rights to Ruben Östlund’s 'Triangle of Sadness'

    SF Studios has acquired the Nordic distribution rights to Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness,” the Swedish filmmaker’s follow up to the Palme d’Or winning “The Swquare.” A contemporary satire taking place in the world of fashion, “Triangle of Sadness” is set on a luxury yacht and ends up on a deserted island where hierarchies are [...]

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi displays

    Narendra Modi Wins New Mandate in Indian Election and Divides the Film Industry

    India has returned the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance coalition to power for a second term, with a huge mandate. In doing so, it polarized the film industry. The NDA won 351 seats out of a total of 542. The biggest democratic exercise in the world, more than 600 million Indians voted across six weeks. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content