Man on Wire (UK, 2008)

Living on an edge

Living on an edge

How do you make a thriller exciting if you know the outcome? Make it real. That’s the ‘trick’ of this stunning documentary because although we know Petit succeeds in fulfilling his idea fixe the intensity of the reconstruction – much of it contemporaneous home movie – is such that the enormity of the event is conveyed. The film consists of a mix of archive footage, reconstructions and interviews with the participants. Narratively it mixes the ‘coup’ of the Two Towers walk with the Petit’s original inspiration, as a teenager, and the preparations. Like his earlier WIsconsin Death Trip (UK, 1999) James Marsh makes the reconstruction of the past an often expressionist and surreal experience.

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