DISCLAIMER: I am deathly afraid of heights. Correction... I am deathly afraid of falling from heights. And while it may not be a phobia per se, I also don't like circus performers. And I'm not a fan of the French, either. This movie has all of those things. And yet? Well, read on...
First things first: Philippe Petit didn't die when he walked a high wire between New York City's World Trade Center towers back in 1974. This is not a spoiler, it's a well-known fact—and the person playing Philippe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lets you know this right from the get-go in Robert Zemeckis' biopic The Walk. So where's the dramatic tension? It comes from the dizzying, vertigo-inspiring scenes of Petit navigating the 110-stories-high wire, where a strong breeze or even an angry bird could send him toppling to earth. Yes, it's all done with CG, and that doesn't make a goddamn bit of difference because those looooong, seemingly never-ending scenes are fucking terrifying. (Individual results may vary... see disclaimer above.)
Unfortunately, to get to these fucking terrifying scenes, you have to endure a whimsical Gordon-Levitt speaking directly to the camera with a terrible French accent (even the French have terrible French accents), and riding a unicycle while juggling. (Again... see disclaimer.) Your eyes will roll a lot. But when The Walk eventually turns into a caper film, the fun increases exponentially as the tension reaches an almost unbearable pitch. And after the terror eventually, thankfully subsides, Zemeckis pulls one final trick out of his hat—while The Walk may be a tribute to an obsessive artist, it's also a deft, loving tribute to the memory of the Twin Towers, and how Petit helped establish that affection in the hearts of New Yorkers.
Not bad for a unicycle-riding Frenchman.