by Heinrich Domingo
The familiar can be captivating. Certainty, strategy, and formula are pleasing to the eyes of the audience. After all, concepts become clichés for they have proven to be effective. The Walk banks on what is workable as it uses proven methods in narrating a typical success story. Interestingly, this style won the approval of the majority of the audience. Despite the predictable plot of the film, it was still able to excite the viewing crowd. The familiar has once again succeeded.
When the conflict of the story lies between man and nature, the public often sees the material as boring. It surely is a story of triumph but the delivery is almost always the same. A person previously unknown to many conquers a difficult feat. Through perseverance, he/she overcomes a challenge and consequently receives the applause and admiration of others. The Walk embraces what it is and tries to prove that the formulaic presentation can still be effective when armed with believable acting, capable casts, and picturesque setting.
The story was held firmly together by a laudable performance of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (playing Philippe Petit). His portrayal of a French high-wire artist proved that he can be more than just a beautiful face. With him are actors on the screen who owned up their characters and showed that they have a place in the grand story of the film. The diversity of Petit’s gang was captured by the movie’s ensemble of cast. Each has an important role to play in attaining to finish the walk.
The movie was told in a once-upon-a-time method. The protagonist emotionally retells his story while on the backdrop is a montage of his struggles towards achieving his dream. It is the classic success story mentioning how a man overcomes fears and challenges. This method has been done before and it can be easily done again. But what separates The Walk with other inspirational movies is that it incorporates and then emphasizes elements which are unique in its plot.
Being a biographical film, the movie can only do much but rely on the dynamism that the main character can offer. In this aspect, the film capitalized on the richness of Philippe Petit’s personality. He is a jubilant artist who puts prime in his achievements. His narration on the sequence of events is entertaining. And dull parts were told in an exuberant way ensuring that the crowd anticipates the grand act in the end of the story.
While the protagonist is suspended in the midair trying to pull off his act, viewers are suspended in their seats waiting for a drama to happen. Their eyes are led into over a hundred stories-high building providing perspective for the audience. From here forward, the audience leaves their seats and joins Petit in his insane act. His nervous steps, his sweaty palms, and his pounding heart became theirs. In the end, his victory is a thing to be shared.
Although The Walk’s box-office success can be attributed to many elements, it is undeniable that part of it is its predictable type of story-telling. The plot is arranged in a way that cinema-goers need not be critical on images to be seen on the screen. Once they occupy their seats in the cinema house, they just have to listen to Philippe Petit’s story and join the walk.