Tag Archives: James Marsh

The Walk (2015)

The Walk review

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4.2/5

Viewers who have vertigo will want a refund for their tickets!

How must it feel to be on the top of the world (literally); high above the sky so high with the wind and the silence as your only companions, the power of determination, the beauty of an incredible imagination becoming reality, and finally a few moments of Zen?

There is only one man who has the answer to the above question – Mr. Philippe Petit.

philippe-petit-posterIn his stunning book ‘To reach the clouds’ (originally published in 2002) Philippe Petit describes his daring experience as a tightrope walker who made eight crossings within one hour between the Twin towers of America (World Trade Center) on 7th August 1974.

That day, more than 100,000 people watched this incredible feat of unimaginable audacity as French street-performer Philippe Petit’s childhood dream comes true!

In his own words ‘People ask me “Why do you risk death?”. For me, this is life.’

In 2008, James Marsh‘s brilliant documentary Man on Wire was released, based on the same event – Philippe Petit’s 1974 history-making-sky-walk in New York.

walk-poster2And finally, it’s time for the biopic.

Director Robert Zemeckis best known for Who Framed Roger Rabbitthe Back to the Future series and also for his collaboration with actor Tom Hanks in films like Forrest Gump and Cast Away comes up this year with his spectacular tightrope-walker biopic, named simply The Walk.

Now the problem with biopics (specially if dependent on some specific event) is that the audience in general remembers what exactly happened in reality and thus the director’s chance of playing with the element of suspense is almost nil.

But then also, when the viewers sit on the edge of their seats thrilled and scared to death while experiencing THE famous Walk between the two towers, that alone proves the success of the director and his film.

walk-poster4Of course the brilliant CGI and impeccable visual effects helps a lot and Dariusz Wolski as the cinematographer has enormous contribution in the film’s success, but still Robert Zemeckis as a director has nailed this one. The drama, the tension, the courage and the fear, all executed in perfect proportions and the effect is awesome!

One other guy who is very much responsible for making the film a memorable one is Joseph Gordon-Levitt

An actor with immense potential and many super cool past performances (in films like Mysterious Skin(500) Days of SummerHesherInception50/50Don Jon), this time he is ready to charm us with his perfect French accent, wearing blue contact lenses and a boyish smile as he plays Philippe Petit in the film.

walk-poster1Trained by Philippe Petit himself (and with the help of a stunt double as well) Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the part to perfection.

Other actors like Charlotte Le Bon, Guillaume BaillargeonBen Kingsley were all at their best.

Though essentially based on a French guy and almost all the characters in the film are French but still with the pretext of ‘practicing their English to make it better’ the dialogues are mostly in English. That’s kind of understandable though, otherwise the film would have turned into a French film!

Overall The Walk is an amazing experience, a celebration of freedom and spirit (and the loving memories of the Twin Towers); a tale of one man’s dream being fulfilled though it was an illegal and not to mention the most dangerous dream to come true.

P.S. Please watch it in 3D. One of the very few films that justifies the purpose of 3D glasses.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.businessinsider.com

The Theory of Everything (2014)

My Ratings: 4/5.

Biographies are always tricky since the director has to walk on a tight rope to maintain a balance between the genuineness of the character (on whom the film is based on) and the obvious cinematic liberty required to make the film entertaining.

And James Marsh (who earlier has some experience with tightrope walkers – remember Man on Wire?) has done a superb job with his latest film The Theory of Everything, which is a biography based on the personal life of world renowned physicist Stephen Hawkings.

theory-of-everything-poster4The Theory of Everything tells the emotional story of Stephen Hawking and his then wife Jane Wilde; a courageous love story that bloomed and strengthened in spite of the fact that Stephen was diagnosed with ‘motor neuron disease’ very early in his college life which eventually (as predicted) made him completely paralysed.

Apparently based on a book written by Jane Hawkings titled ‘Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen’ the film captures the different stages of their love life with incredible honesty. 

During the screening of the film Stephen Hawkings had tears in his eyes as he watched Eddie Redmayne play his character with extraordinary authenticity and brilliance.

Mr.Hawkings also mentioned to director James Marsh in an e-mail that certain parts of the film are so realistic that he thought he was watching himself. Now that’s something!

Stephen-HawkingStephen Hawking was so impressed that he allowed the filmmakers to use his original voice; he also lent his Medal of Freedom medallion and his signed thesis to use as genuine props in the film.

Outstanding performance by Felicity Jones as Jane Hawkings, a lady with tremendous courage, who dared to stand by her lover/husband in remarkably tough situations. 

Though based on the life of a world famous scientist The Theory of Everything deals very less with science and more with Stephen’s personal sentiments.

It’s not a film celebrating Stephen Hawkings as the best physicist of our recent times but it’s about honoring him as a spirited individual who knows how to appreciate life against extraordinary odds. And that is one of the main reasons of the film’s success.

A few emotional scenes are so touchy that i bet you will have a tough time taming your tear bags.

Theory-of-Everything-Poster3Beautifully shot by Benoît Delhomme and awesome music by Jóhann Jóhannsson; the film is surely one of the best biography’s of this year. 

Already nominated in four categories for the Golden Globes and also predicted to be nominated for the Oscars – this is a film that shouldn’t be missed.

A few words of Stephen Hawkings about life and hope:

There should be no boundaries to human endeavor. We are all different. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.