Friday, March 26, 2010

Man on Wire (2008; James Marsh)

I have finally decided to take a step back from my never ending mountain of work to write another review. I have had a lot of films mulling in my head, but I just haven't had the time to make anything concrete. So here you go.

A documentary that explores the life and achievement of one man's dream.

Like most of you, I have never given a second thought to tightrope walking. I went to a circus once when I was little, but I never really ever gave the concept a chance. So coming into a film about a man whose dream was to tightrope really worried me that I wouldn't be able to connect to his dream. To miss the connection in a documentary such as this would be catastrophic to its message, but I was determined to try.

As I watched the images flutter across my screen, I realized I wasn't watching a documentary about tightrope walking. I was watching a documentary on dreams and the people who would give it all for a shot at them. Philippe Petit, the focus of this piece, was so struck and captivated by a single moment in his teenage years that it proceeded to craft the rest of his life to the achievement of this one, miraculous goal. To be able to witness a person so determined and motivated that they never seem to falter. A person so willing to embrace a goal so far from reach that they will do anything to get only a step closer.

“What a beautiful death to die in the arms of your passion.”

To amplify the power of the event, it is retold by Philippe and his comrades with such an intensity that it is like they are being thrown right back into the days where it all unfolded. The score put behind the events is subtle and upbeat to the point where it feels like it is pushing you along with Philippe to go conquer your own dreams. It makes you reflect on yourself and how far you would go with a friend so driven by an object of their desire. This documentary, despite how far off his dream may be from your own, has the power to connect to anyone and may even inspire people to change their lives. This is the impact great films should have.

Score: 5/5

Notes: Watch this documentary.