Friday, November 25, 2011

Living Your Life on a Tightrope: Reviewing the Documentary Man on Wire

In my search to find a good documentary to watch, I came across Man on Wire.  It's the story of Phillipe Petit, the man who tightrope walked between the World Trade Center towers in 1974.  This film came out in 2008.  It was based on Petit's book To Reach the Clouds: My High Wire Walk Between the Twin Towers written in 2002.

During the first few minutes of the movie, it was kind of hard for me to watch.  That's because there were all sorts of shots of the Twin Towers as they were being built.  I went to New York in the summer of 2000, so I had some sort of idea how high these were.  But knowing what became of those towers a year later, it was eerie for me to see footage of the crews putting the towers together piece by piece.

As far as the movie goes, I think it was put together really well.  There was so much footage that Petit and his crew took that it seemed like he knew someone would put a movie together about the event someday.  I think the situations that were recreated in the movie were pretty good too.

I also enjoyed the music.  It was mostly classical, and there were some songs that were probably released during that time period.
Risk taking seems like an obvious theme in this movie, and Petit seems to tell the people who watch it to challenge themselves.  Toward the end of the film, he briefly talked about how to "live your life on a tightrope".  To me this seems like it's easier said than done.  I think it's hard in a world where I often pressure myself to to stay safe, be smart, do only what I know and not take too many risks or else I might lose what I have.  I wonder how many people my age feel the same way.

Petit didn't seem to let those kinds of things get to him.  Sure, he felt nervous and scared that his plan wouldn't work, but he kept going.  I think he's crazy, but sometimes being kind of crazy brings out something good.  For the people in New York, I think it brought them a new thought that seeing something out of the ordinary is kind of refreshing and amazing, like what the police officer thought and recalled during an interview after "Le Coup", the name Petit gave to the incident.

I think Petit's feelings when he was at the World Trade Center tightrope walking incident and his outlook on life, and hopefully for us, was summed up well in his following remark: 

"What a beautiful death, to die in the exercise of your passion."

Image courtesy of

No comments:

Post a Comment