Friday, December 5, 2008

Man on Wire DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Revisits Daredevil’s Death-Defying Walk between the Twin Towers

On the morning of August 7, 1974, a street performer named Philippe Petit sucked the collective breaths out of the world’s stomach when he performed a death-defying, high-wire act between the roofs of the Twin Towers. The daring feat was an achievement almost as impressive as the construction of the magnificent World Trade Center itself, given that because it was not only illegal, but had to be pulled off in absolutely secrecy.

Just think, not only did he have to gain access to the top of the buildings, but he had to figure out a way to string a 200 feet-long, 450-pound cable between them. And he had to factor in that by design the Towers were constantly swaying slightly, more so on windy days. Therefore, any attempt to cross between them without a harness or parachute would seem almost suicidal to any sane person.

Man on Wire is a riveting documentary which revisits the events surrounding the fearless Frenchman’s secret mission, including his enlisting the assistance of a handful of accomplices. From flying over the Towers in a helicopter, to securing fake badges to bypass WTC security, to smuggling heavy equipment inside, he and his intrepid band of co-conspirators recount the particulars of their espionage-like operation.

The film is guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes, when August 7 finally arrives, and we are treated to the breathtaking spectacle of Petit poised to take that first step off one of the Towers. He then proceeds to make 8 crosses back and forth between the buildings at 1368 feet in the air, teasing the exasperated cops imploring him to return to the roof.

An exhilarating experience not to be missed, either its enlightening peek inside the elite mind of an extraordinary individual or its ethereal tribute to the Twin Towers.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and drug references.

In English and French with subtitles.

Running time: 94 minutes

Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: Audio commentary and deleted scenes.

To see a trailer of Man on Wire, visit:

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