Monday, November 03, 2008

Film: "Man on Wire"

This was a documentary about this crazy French guy who tightrope walked between the two towers of the World Trade Centre. It was fascinating and very enjoyable, and not just for the character who said "I spent thirty years of my life being stoned every day, so yes, on that day it is probably the case that I was high". It was also interesting for the sense that while doing the walk catapulted yer man into a world of celebrity and easy sex, he seemed to have lost a lot from it (notably his best friend and his amazingly rowrsome girlfriend of the time). I think maybe that the tragedy of the tightrope walker was that he did not seem to have realised what he had lost. But yeah, great film, see if on the big screen for full vertigo action.

I wrote that ages ago, when Man on Wire was still in the cinema. It's long-gone now, so you'll have to watch in on TV or something. Well I'm sure it will still be very good. Most of the film is people talking about what they did to make the tightrope walk happen. I knew basically nothing about the incident before seeing the film, so I was a bit surprised to learn that to go ahead, they needed to approach the whole thing like it was a heist. I suppose when you think about it, if you approach the owners of a big building and say "allo, I am zis crayzeeee French guy, and I would like to tight-rope walk from one bit of your building to another" you have to assume they will tell you to fuck off. So the film is all about the tight-rope walker and his team preparing to do the job, then about them actually doing it. It's all so tense.

One thing you get a real sense of, though, is of tight-rope walking as a team endeavour. The walker could not have done this on his own. He needed his partners in crime to get the equipment onto the towers and to play the cable across between them, and he needed them in the planning stage to get it all sorted out so that he would not fall to his death when doing the walk. I'm not sure the walker himself fully realised how much the others did for him. There is a very sad moment in the film, where one of his former colleagues breaks down at the thought of how close they had been, but how the walk between the towers ended their friendship. It was interesting, I thought that it was him who broke down and cried over the past, and not the walker's then girlfriend (whose generous support was re-paid by his shagging some slapper the moment the cops released him from their custody).

So yes, maybe this film could be viewed a cautionary tale.

The film makers could not afford Philip Glass, so they got Michael Nyman in instead.

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