Man On Wire

Year: 2008
Production Co: Discovery Films
Director: James Marsh
Cast: Phillipe Petit

If you happen to have seen Bob Zemeckis' The Walk before seeing this movie, like I did, there's not much more of the central incident of Phillipe Petit's career to be gleaned from the stories and recollections of those who took part in it – Zemeckis' film paints flesh onto the tale.

What's less known is the other people and stunts he took part in, including the illegal high wire walk between two of the pylons of the Sydney Harbour bridge the year before, and the Australian collaborator who worked with Petit and his crew on the initial plan to stage the World Trade Center heist.

Petit seems to be a bit of a showboat who just loves performing and attention – which probably makes perfect sense given what he did to become famous – only too happy to mythologise himself and the 1974 stunt that saw him turn from criminal to folk hero in the shortest time you've ever seen.

By all means watch The Walk as well – by nature of the difference between Hollywood magic and real life documentary footage it has the more exciting and evocative imagery, but Zemeckis and his effects engineers seemed to have been directly inspired by the shots of Petit walking, sitting, kneeling and twirling so far above the ground, relishing every minute of the world's attention.

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