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Chris High reviews books, movies, albums, theatre and gigs.

Man On Wire

Director: James Marsh
Producer: Simon Chinn
Music: Michael Nyman
Running Tine 1 hr 30
23 July, 2008

Man On Wire promo image


In 1969, Philippe Petit sat in a dentist’s waiting room, spotted a picture of two very tall buildings in a magazine and thought “hmm, I think I’ll walk between those on a tight rope”. Not only did Petit think this, he actually became obsessed with the notion until, in August 1974, he realised his dream and walked between the Twin Towers the World Trade Centre in New York, without a safety net and without a harness, bringing the city to stand-still in the process. He juggled, knealt, lay down and stood on one leg too, ¾ of a mile above the streets of Manhattan. Now if that isn’t insanity, I have no clue what is and when asked “why”, which is the constant question circling through your brain when watching the film, Petit’s answer is simple. ‘There is no “why”,’ he says with a shrug and a smile.


Yet this is not the whole story, as everything about the walk had to be carried out in secret, getting the necessary equipment up onto the building’s roof – and rigging the wire – is something out of a James Bond novel almost.

Aided by a team of “friends” who are mostly stoned or incapable of speaking French, the mind-boggling insanity of the project and the drive and passion Petit shows in wishing to achieve his ambition, underline the fact that if somebody really wants something badly enough they can always achieve it.

Beautifully shot, and narrated by interviews with Petit and some of his co-conspirators, Man On Wire is a funny, nerve-jangling, roller-coaster ride of a movie with a message of triumph over adversity in its very rawest – craziest – form.
Chris High

4/ 5
Chris High.




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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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