Man on Wire - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Man on Wire Reviews

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Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out
November 18, 2011
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
May 7, 2009
It all makes for an absorbing, mischievously amusing yarn, whose climax unfolds with unexpected emotional force.
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November 10, 2008
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.
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 18, 2008
The erasure of the towers adds poignance and irony to a documented event that is inherently thrilling and beautiful.
| Original Score: A
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 18, 2008
By any rational gauge, Petit's WTC obsession was flat-out crazy, but Marsh takes a limpid, nonjudgmental view of it all.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle
October 18, 2008
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 | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Noel Murray
AV Club
October 18, 2008
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.
| Original Score: B-
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
August 29, 2008
James Marsh tells Petit's story, the most inspiring 'heist' in modern history, a Frenchman's stroll between two 110 story buildings in lower Manhattan.
| Original Score: 4/5
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
August 29, 2008
In archival photos Petit seems to float between the towers, a tiny black figure against a vivid blue sky; the images are all the more poignant for the unstated fact that Petit is still around when the buildings aren't.
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Kevin Craft
Miami Herald
August 22, 2008
Man On Wire is an engrossing film that captures the imagination and never ceases to entertain.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
August 15, 2008
Astonishing. Daring. Mind-boggling. Visually stunning. A true heart-stopper. And, oh yeah, the movie's pretty good, too.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
August 8, 2008
It's a rare tale of dangerous obsession rapturously fulfilled, a reminder that even the most quixotic of undertakings can knock over a windmill now and then.
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
August 8, 2008
The word 'documentary' doesn't begin to do justice to [director] Marsh's achievement.
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
August 8, 2008
A documentary about a towering act of daring proves a spine-tingling memorial to recklessness as art.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
August 8, 2008
A gift of a documentary.
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
August 8, 2008
They say that seeing is believing, but Man on Wire will make you doubt what your eyes are telling you -- it really will -- as you shake your head in amazement and awe.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
August 8, 2008
There's nothing on movie screens now that can compare with the footage of Petit's performance.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Reyhan Harmanci
San Francisco Chronicle
August 8, 2008
Man on Wire, the delightful documentary about French tightrope walker Philippe Petit's incroyable early-morning trip between the World Trade Center towers in 1974, is an interesting film to watch from the front row.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
August 8, 2008
Man on Wire should be watched on the biggest screen possible; it's an utterly thrilling exploration of one man's mad dream.
| Original Score: 4/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
August 8, 2008
This film is a celebration of human achievement; it soars with the promise that we are shackled to the ground only by lack of imagination and will.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
August 8, 2008
Part of what makes Man on Wire so enthralling, and so entertaining, is the filmmaker's skill in laying out the illegal caper's logistics, mainly through interviews with Philippe and his support team.
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
August 8, 2008
[A] heart-stopping, knee-buckling and transcendent account.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Kamal Al-Solaylee
Globe and Mail
August 8, 2008
[Director] Marsh creates a transfixing documentary feature that doubles as a celebration of one man and an elegy to two buildings that are no more.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
August 8, 2008
The film's soaring climax becomes surprisingly emotional thanks to testimony from those lucky enough to have witnessed it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
August 8, 2008
Constructed like a first-rate thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
August 7, 2008
Robert Zemeckis is developing a feature film based on Petit's life and high crimes. Good luck to all concerned, but I can't see how a fictionalized treatment could exceed the achievement of director James Marsh's documentary, which unfolds like a dream.
| Original Score: 4/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
August 5, 2008
A fascinating time capsule: a combination of talking-head interviews, actual footage, and re-creations that evokes a kinder, gentler world and provides insight into one of the most audacious stunts of the 20th century.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
August 1, 2008
Without bombast or pathos -- as gracefully as a tightrope walker -- Man on Wire brings back a time when the towers were still symbols of aspiration and possibility.
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Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly
July 31, 2008
Much of Marsh's focus is on the practical details and build up of the caper, but the last third stretches out for poetic resonance.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Trevor Johnston
Time Out
July 31, 2008
A generous, visionary gesture supplanting the communal memory of the site's unspeakable horrors with an image of human achievement that's head-spinning, heart-leaping in its absurd purity.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/6
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
July 28, 2008
James Marsh's rollicking documentary Man on Wire asks not 'Why?' but 'How the hell?'
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
July 25, 2008
Director James Marsh's hypnotic movie documents French wire walker Philippe Petit's unauthorized, 45-minute balancing act 110 stories above New York in August 1974.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
July 25, 2008
[An] engrossing and exhilarating documentary Man on Wire, which uses vintage footage, interviews and re-creations.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
July 25, 2008
Thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
July 24, 2008
[A] breathtaking documentary about that mad-genius coup achieved over three decades ago.
Full Review | Original Score: A
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David Fear
Time Out
July 24, 2008
Armed with the standard operating tools of documentary filmmaking, James Marsh leads audiences through Petit & Co.'s preparation and execution of this incredible feat of performance art.
| Original Score: 5/6
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Sara Vilkomerson
New York Observer
July 23, 2008
As the film traces how he plotted his Word Trade Center walk, it starts to feel almost like a heist movie, as Mr. Petit and his cronies map out each minute detail over the course of month.
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
May 5, 2008
Delightful and finally transcendent documentary.
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Frank Scheck
Hollywood Reporter
May 2, 2008
A surprisingly entertaining, poignant documentary about the most notorious high-wire walk ever.
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Aaron Hillis
Village Voice
April 26, 2008
Exhilarating... a crowd-pleaser in such witty, poetic ways that even an art-house curmudgeon couldn't deny its tidy vigor.
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Robert Koehler
Variety
January 28, 2008
James Marsh's Man on Wire erupts onscreen as one of the most wildly entertaining docs of recent years.
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Richard Nilsen
Arizona Republic
January 22, 2008
It is one of the most suspenseful, white-knuckled films of the year.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5