Friday, August 22, 2008

Man on Wire--see it.

MB and I went to see Man on Wire at the Laemmle in Pasadena last night, and wow. It's the story of Philippe Petit's wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center. The movie unfolds like a crime caper--think the Great Escape, only Petit and his buddies are breaking into the World Trade Center instead of breaking out. The movie has you on the edge of your seat until Petit finally sets foot on the wire, when the mood shifts to an almost spiritual awe. In the words of Sgt. Charles Daniels, who was one of the officers called to the scene:

I observed the tightrope 'dancer'—because you couldn't call him a 'walker'—approximately halfway between the two towers. And upon seeing us he started to smile and laugh and he started going into a dancing routine on the high wire....And when he got to the building we asked him to get off the high wire but instead he turned around and ran back out into the middle....He was bouncing up and down. His feet were actually leaving the wire and then he would resettle back on the wire again....Unbelievable really....[E]verybody was spellbound in the watching of it. I personally thought I was seeing something I would never see again. I thought it was once in a lifetime.

The movie never mentions 9/11 and it doesn't have to, since you can't help but think about it as you see the beautiful photos of Petit making his crossing. It was the right decision for a lot of reasons.

I think the spirit of the movie is really captured by this New Yorker cover, which appeared on September 11, 2006.

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