Dropkick loves Men on Wires
There, i said it.
Man on wire is an absolute gem of a documentary about Philippe Petit's illegal high wire routine he performed between the The World Trade Center Towers in the 70's. I was skeptical of this one, i knew going in of this routine, and i knew there was no video footage of his actual wire dancing which is a let down because he was up there for 45 minutes. Someone coulda got something for the archives. Still, the doc presents the actual walk during the climax in photographs but so rich are the words and testimonies of everyone who was there that you won't be able to tell the difference. Philippe Petit's beautiful moment of conquering the towers is so richly painted as an act of beauty, magic, defiance, resilience, and hope that you can't help but feel moved by the stills.
What makes this film so great is that it never mentions the towers not being there anymore. Wether or not this film would be made without what happened on 9/11 or not is up for debate but by not mentioning it, by letting the towers represent this one man's dream as they really did for him and then seeing him achieve that dream is such an inspiring message.
I remember Roger Ebert said soon after 9/11 while reviewing Zoolander and pointing out that the twin towers were digitally removed from every shot, "we shouldn't hide the twin towers. Let them stand tall in all their glory for all of us to see and admire."
The fact that the towers are not around in present day had no impact on the film, they talk as if they were still standing today and by the end of it while you're brushing your teeth before heading to bed, it hits you. The towers aren't actually there anymore, you drop toothpaste on your shirt, but for the duration of Man on Wire you couldn't tell. It's as if they were always there, standing tall as just a building, an obstacle or the encompassing idea of dreams and hopes.