Man on Wire (2008)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: James Marsh's doc about artist Phililppe Petit's artful caper brings you every ounce of suspense that can be wrung from a man on a (suspended) wire.


Movie Info

August 7, 1974. A young French man named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire suspended between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. He danced on this wire for an hour with no safety net before he was arrested for what has become to be known as the "artistic crime of the century."

Rating: PG-13 (for some sexuality and nudity, and drug references)
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 9, 2008
Box Office: $2.6M
Runtime:
Magnolia Pictures - Official Site

Cast


as Annie Allix

as Philippe Petit
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Critic Reviews for Man on Wire

All Critics (155) | Top Critics (41)

It all makes for an absorbing, mischievously amusing yarn, whose climax unfolds with unexpected emotional force.

Full Review… | May 7, 2009
Washington Post
Top Critic

In this exhilarating, palm-moistening documentary by British filmmaker James Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip), the twin towers are back to celebrate one of their finest moments.

Full Review… | November 10, 2008
Film.com
Top Critic

The erasure of the towers adds poignance and irony to a documented event that is inherently thrilling and beautiful.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Though we know how it ends, it unfolds with suspense. And though it lacks any discussion of the towers' destruction, it succeeds as a tribute to their birth.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

It's a story worth telling, yes -- but after 90 minutes, it's hard not to wonder if the storyteller can talk about anything else.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
AV Club
Top Critic

The triumph of Man on Wire is its archival footage, including the stunning scenes of Petit dancing and tumbling 1,350 feet above the pavement. They put the most dizzying shots of The Dark Knight to shame.

Full Review… | March 6, 2015
The Nation

Audience Reviews for Man on Wire

A magnificent feat told by its own participants. Emotionally engaging and exhilarating.

pier007
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

A stuntman/performer dreams up a stunt impossible to ignore in the modern day world full of been there, done that. True enough, I wondered what's the big deal, "a guy on a tightrope", blah, blah, blah, yada, yada. Fueling these thoughts, the man himself, Monsieur Petit, seems a shameless attention hog, one whom it inadvertently pleases one to ignor. But then, the stunt itself ... jaw droppingly, utterly un-friggen-believable! See it.

ApeneckFletcher
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

A beatific documentary about a sole subject, this film was basically all about the feat that Petite pulled off, which comes off as sentimental and assured. Still, I would have liked to see a broader view of the accomplishment, one that possibly exaggerated Petite's abilities, showed more backstory, and the way he became a wire walker. Not much is shown on Petite's abilities other than his illegal yet masterful attempts at walking across some of the most famous locations in the world. The subject of the entire documentary wasn't given credence to showcase himself, except in interviews. In said interviews he comes off as childish, imaginative, and has a memory like a steel trap. Instead of truly looking into the depth of the subject the film uses interviews, and those dowdy recreations that pop up on episodes of America's Most Wanted. Though I found the footage of him walking on the wire truly ingratiating and just as feel good as they were purposing it to be, it didn't reel me in with anything all too interesting or new. Beside that the aftermath of the event wasn't shown in a true light and was further romanticized by Petite's ex, who viewed his infidelity as kismet rather than the delusions of a newly made icon. Most of the film covers the buildup to the event, assembling the crew, getting past security, and rigging the equipment up on the top floors of the newly created World Trade Center towers. It varies between flashbacks and interviews and that becomes quite confusing and annoying to boot. Really, it has its moments and was touching at times, but otherwise it was just wishy washy and slightly unpleasant.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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