This documentary in one tweet
French guy spends 45 minutes on a wire 1300 feet in the air. Doesn't die. That's pretty much it. #ThePictureBookWasBetter
"That's what really attracted me, it's the challenge part of something that's supposed to be impossible. And in the meantime, doing something so beautiful that not only doesn't hurt anybody, but gives something to somebody." - Jean Louis Blondeau, friend and co-conspirator.
Man on Wire tells the story of Frenchman Philippe Petit, who, in August of 1974, broke into the World Trade Center with a several accomplices, strung a tightrope between the Twin Towers, and walked between them for nearly an hour.
Go ahead and read that first sentence again.
Are you blown away by this yet?
Am I asking too many rhetorical questions?
Sorry, I'll stop. You should be blown away by this. Here's some pictures to help you be blown away by it:
It's an amazing achievement, and I totally understand what Jean-Louis was talking about in the quote above. Seeing something that amazing is like receiving a gift; it just makes you feel happy and inspired and energized all at once. It's totally illegal, and for good reason. Because if he fell and killed himself, that's like opening a gift and finding a black mamba inside.
Second amazing thing: Philippe is extremely French. Like, extremely. At one point, I was mad at the documentary crew for showing Philippe rising around Paris on a unicycle, in a black beret and turtleneck, thinking it was a stereotyped reenactment. Then I realized it was actual home video of Philippe riding around Paris on a unicycle, wearing a black beret and turtleneck. Also, the first thing he did after he got out of jail was to have a bunch of sex with a woman who was not his girlfriend of many years. He's French.
But you know the most amazing thing about the film? (Of course you don't, I'm just asking another rhetorical question.) It was made in 2008. It was about the twin towers. Something sort of important happened about seven years before it was released. But the whole story is told as if that never happened, as if what eventually happened to these towers is unimportant to Philippe's story.
And maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe it's some kind of triumph to make a movie celebrating something amazing that happened between the towers without dragging us endlessly back to the day when they came tumbling down. But I felt the absence, like I was watching a documentary exclusively about the construction of Pearl Harbor.
5 cold, frosty beers (out of 10)
This was an hour and a half documentary that could have been condensed into twenty minutes without losing anything important. It's like those giant boxes of candy that are three quarters packaging - a delicious, chocolaty twenty minutes, but surrounded by too much fluff.
I do seem to be the only person on the Internet who didn't really like this movie though. It's has a 100% critic approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Wikipedia tells me it won a whole bunch of awards.
But don't listen to them. Listen to me. I have a website with my name on it. Does that mean nothing to you?
Jordan Jeffers recommends the picture book The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, which is the same story, only shorter and without the sex afterwards. Feel free to give him electronic encouragement via the little Facebook and Twitter buttons below. Peace.