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04.08.2009- Film Review: Man On Wire

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

'Man On Wire' is an award winning documentary which tells the audacious story of Philippe Petit's daredevil wire walk between the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. As well as charting the build up to the walk, the documentary illuminates Petit's accomplishments (and several arrests) in the build up to scaling the iconic Manhattan landmark(s) in 1974, including walking between the two towers of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and traversing a wire rigged between two pylons on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.

Wire walking is Petit's vocation in life; the documentary more than demonstrates this when he professes that the freedom he feels when on a wire in incomparable to anything else he feels in life. The sheer preparation involved in his World Trade Center stunt demonstrates his passion; the event was eight months in the planning, and had to be orchestrated meticulously in order for this milestone achievement to work successfully.

This film is filled with humour, however dark it may be, and more than once when watching it, I have to confess I questioned Petit's sanity. But as he rationalised: 'If I die, what a beautiful death', I understood that for him, to die in the act of doing something he loves is enormously preferable than to die always wondering 'what if?'

(Photo credit: Google.)

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