Home > Uncategorized > Man On Wire (2008)

Man On Wire (2008)

Man on Wire is a 2008 documentary film directed by James Marsh chronicling the amazing life of Philippe Petit who is a French wire walker.  The film documents the ambitious life of Philippe Petit and his ultimate desire of walking between the World Trade Center towers.  The movie draws the attention of its audience to the miraculous and daring feats of wire walking in places such as Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, a bridge in Sydney Australia, and of course the World Trade Center.  The plot details the beginning of Philippe Petit in his adventurous pursuit of wire walking leading up to his most anticipated wire walk between the two towers.

This documentary has a few literary themes present throughout.  One of the themes is that Mr. Petit is a persistent man who perseveres in his wire walking endeavor to accomplish his ultimate goal of crossing between the World Trade Center’s two towers.  Another thematic element used in the documentary is how the director intertwined the idea of the World Trade Center so well into the plot that the WTC brought out emotions in the audience since its destruction in 2001.  The director portrays the WTC in a positive light and gives the impression that the film is meant to somewhat commemorate the WTC.  Some of the imagery used in this film depicts Philippe Petit as a person who is walking in thin air or rather walking in the clouds.  Many of the distant shots especially from the ground level show Philippe as merely a black speck in between two protruding structures.  These scenes provided the audience with an idea of what Philippe Petit experiences while climbing.  The wire walking scenes show how brave, fearless, and concentrated Mr. Petit is during his stunts.

The documentary’s plot is interesting and creative.  The boldness Philippe has while wire walking was nothing short of amazing.  The film’s plot has a rather simplistic and realistic aspect to it meaning that the documentary is easy and enjoyable to follow.  The plot of the film basically starts as most films do in that it begins with Philippe Petit’s earliest attempts in life at becoming a good wire walker and overall entertainer.  As the documentary progresses, the audience is shown intermittent clips of preparation for his famous trek at the World Trade Center.  Finally, the film’s last ten minutes include Philippe’s wire walk at the WTC and the consequences he faced after his little stunt.

The documentary’s cinematography is quite good to say the least.  The camera movements and shots of Phillipe are great because the camera would switch from numerous shots at ground level and some shots are taken suspended while on the wire.   These feats in camera movement with their contrasting high and low angles provide the viewing audience a real life feel of actually being present at the event(s).  One positive aspect seen in this film is how the documentary includes many old news reels and old photographs of many sites Philippe Pitet covered.  Overall, the documentary/film provides the audience with dazzling feats performed on major structures and gives the viewers a special look at the life and legacy Philippe Pitet achieved in his wire walking and entertaining days.

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