*The last paragraph expresses short analysis* Yes, The Martian is great and it deserves attention. In fact, it is more than great and it has potential to be nominated at the Oscars. That being said, I would rather write a review about a film that I don't love, but kinda do, but don't, but really do. Let me explain: I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Robert Zemeckis too much, that I can't not talk about The Walk.
I understand that The Walk is based off of a true story, but I am not going to spoil the ending, because not all of you know the complete story, and neither did I. All I knew was that it involves an illegal tight rope walk across the then newly constructed Twin Towers in New York in 1974 by a Frenchman named Philippe Petit. That's all you need to know too.
If we are going to talk about The Walk, let's talk about JGL. I should probably get it out of the way that Joseph Gordon-Levitt did nothing here for me to dislike him. He also unfortunately didn't really do anything for me to like him more. I however feel the need to defend his performance nonetheless due to the barrage of negative criticism coming from critics about his French accent. Here's the thing: he's playing a showy performer. Of course his accent his going to be borderline absurd if he is playing someone who has a heightened, near-faux personality. Now that we've got that out of the way, was it serviceable enough? Yes. Did I want more, sure; but his performance is so good towards the end when he needs to come through that the rest doesn't really matter.
The other reason to talk about The Walk is Robert Zemeckis. Sadly, not enough people know who this guy is. Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back to the Future, The Polar Express, Contact, THE WALK. . . more movies. . . Robert Zemeckis is a true genius when it comes to the cutting edge of seamless special effects in life-like situations. He usually also is great at constructing philosophically captivating narratives, and finding stories with brilliant finales. This is no different, as most of the real reason most of us are seeing this film is for the ending: the actual walk.
And is it worth it for that respect? Is The Walk just worth going for the thrill element? Yes, yes, a million times yes. Everything about the actual walk by Philippe Petit and the events in New York leading up to it is on another plane of brilliance. My hands were sweating from the intensity for nearly forty minutes. It made it all the better that it is was in IMAX 3D. I'm not the only one effected as their was audience at prescreenings who were literally throwing up. Sadly the whole film isn't this engaging. That is to say, The Walk is not perfect. Fortunately, none of its flaws are really all that blatant, at least for me personally. Sure, emotional moments feel a tad forced, the story is a little formulaic, and the exposition is occasionally too blunt, though again some of this can be forgiven due to the showy nature of Philippe Petit's character. That being said, The Walk is exhilarating. The music, cinematography, humor, and joyous way this film doesn't take itself too seriously and fully embraces its insanity in the midst of some pretty tragic subtext is infectious - even if it's a little overdone and stupid at moments. Though, no relationship is perfect and my affair with The Walk is deliriously delightful enough to go back for more.
Personal Preference: 4.5/5
Critical Analysis: 4/5