Man on Wire - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Man on Wire Reviews

Page 1 of 182
November 5, 2016
It's hard to believe that something accomplished over 30 years from the filming of this documentary could hold one in suspense considering we know the result because the man in question is alive and talking to the camera. The lesson here, when you have an idea take out the video camera and film because someday you might have decent documentary footage decades later. The principles are honest and that makes this a fun adventure.
October 5, 2016
This movie is a fantastic story of chasing dreams and following ambitions. It is a very well done documentary. A classic.
½ September 21, 2016
people who put a zero really don't know film this beyond excellent in my opinion excellent and a beautiful film cinematography and acting
September 9, 2016
I had butterflies in my stomach through out this movie
½ August 11, 2016
A really great documentary, mostly due to the phenomenal feat achieved and the fact that the participants documented so much of it themselves. The documentary tells the story like a heist film, which makes sense since the folks involved had to figure out how to sneak into the not-quite-completed World Trade Center and string a wire between the buildings without anybody noticing. There are some problems with how the story is structured ... there are repeated assertions that one fellow was not trusted by any of the others, but this never actually amounts to anything ... but when you finally see Philippe Petit walking on a tightrope, it kind of washes away any small problems with the film.
½ June 20, 2016
Uno de los actos acrobaticos mas temaraios de la historia desde el punto de vista mas intimo: el de los protagonistas. A ver.
June 15, 2016
Man On Wire proves you can achieve the impossible
June 12, 2016
Interesting to watch before the film The Walk, which was what I did, to see how Hollywood changed the story, as they always do.
June 7, 2016
Why? Because its there!
May 15, 2016
Engaging only at times, it even felt long at 90 minutes. It's not bad if you're interested in this real life story, and it's got some interesting additions compared to other documentaries, but it certainly doesn't live up to its 4-star hype.
½ April 19, 2016
A quirky, fun, and thrilling telling of a, well... a quirky, fun, and thrilling stunt. 'man on Wire' is just as cool as it looks.

Petit is a funny and charismatic man, which is especially important given how dependent this film is on him telling his own story. The format is simple- take those involved and interview them about the events, all the while showing re-enactments of the stories and actual video footage when relevant. This is playing it safe but only, and ONLY, if the story has enough going for it. That's the difference between a decent film and a great one when you follow a structure like that.

Unsurprisingly, sneaking into the twin towers and walking across them on a tightrope- that's, um, a pretty brilliant story. All of Petit's passion and drive comes through and fits so perfectly with his stunt that the film just has a wholeness to it- it informs and inspires. It makes you think but it doesn't leave you questioning. You just get it- you feel what Petit is experiencing, even if you haven't experienced it yourself. Sure, watching this isn't actually going to feel like you're only one step away from guaranteed death (thankfully!?) but it's still good, okay!?

Everything this film represents is a perfect tribute to the towers that once stood. That's not what this one is about though- it's about re-living a moment with those who were there and, boy, what a moment it was.
April 3, 2016
Man on Wire: the film's title tells us everything and nothing. Yes, this is a documentary about a man who illegally tightrope walks across a wire. But to reduce such artistry, such magnificent talent and effort to simply "Man on Wire"? That is the real crime here. Granted, the title bears historical accuracy; we see Phillipe Petit's police report toward the end of the film with the words "man on wire" scrawled in the description.

Suspenseful, energetic, dramatic: all words to describe not only this film, but the main man himself. Petit is a true character-he keeps us engaged with his mysterious yet magnificent obsession with being hundreds of feet in the air, dancing across a single wire suspended between the notorious Twin Towers. It also doesn't hurt that he's so bubbly and spirited, keeping the film quick-paced for the most part. And who better to direct such a film than James Marsh? Though Marsh's actual voice is never heard throughout Man on Wire, this does not stop him from getting it across. He places an immense focus on celebrating Petit's walk across the Twin Towers, in the most light-hearted and whimsical way possible (both of these attending to his voice, I might add). Marsh tells Petit's story beautifully, utilizing a combination of talking-head interviews, archived footage/photographs, and reenactments to take us (the viewers) through this exhilarating journey. We really get a sense of the type of filmmaker that Marsh is through Man on Wire. The way he takes extra steps just to make the film more "artsy" for viewers who may or may not pick up on such minute details, magnificent! In the very beginning moments of the film, we see archived photos of Petit as a child juxtaposed with archived film of the Towers being built. Marsh sequences the photos in such a way to draw parallels between them and what's going on in the film. Killer scene!-absolutely stunning.

Yes, admittedly there is a lack of moving archived material in the film, but who is to blame for this? Certainly not Marsh, and probably not Petit or his crew either. It seems that Petit's intention was not to record the moment, but to rather live it. Though his crossing did make a beautiful performance (which we see through the stunning archived photos of his seemingly ant-sized body suspended on a wire), his decision to do the walk in the first place can be attributed to his sheer obsession with the project and Towers, not any desire to "put on a show."

What's interesting to me is evidence of the binary we see toward the end of the film. We know that, through his careful composition of materials, Marsh intended for his film to be cheerful, airy, and humorous (among other things of the like). This calls into question the last few minutes of the film, which bring a more elegiac feel, an ambiance that catches us a little off guard considering the otherwise up-beat moments throughout. It's worth noting that Marsh never explicitly mentions the horrific events that took place on September 11th, 2001 (interesting, especially since Man on Wire was released 7 years later). This was no accident, of course. Marsh definitely did not intend to put a damper on the occasion. His main focus was celebrating the walk, but he does create a sort of elegy for the towers with his exquisite layering and sequencing of archived film, interviews, photos, and music (during the film's final moments, in particular). As Annie (Petit's ex-lover) speaks of the ending of her romantic relationship with Petit, she says "our relationship was meant to end here, and it was beautiful that way." Instead of the camera remaining fixed on Annie's face, it pans around the Towers while a soft, touching lullaby twinkles in the background. Marsh is trying to point out that like their relationship, the Towers have also ended. The soft music brings a touching (almost mourning) feel to the moment, which further implements the minimal elegiac aspects of the film. Another killer scene! If we're giving credit where it's due, all praise goes to James Marsh. He took this amazingly creative event and strung it together in a way that made it all the more exciting. Hats off, Marsh!
April 3, 2016
One of the best films I've ever seen.
March 16, 2016
I was dissapointed. The documentary touches on really interesting things but then just abandons them. I was just a bit under whelmed with the story to be honest. And that makes me sound like a dick head because this guy walked between the twin towers with a fucking rope but the documentary just wasn't executed very well.
March 15, 2016
I was actually interested and looking forward to see Man On Wire, but I felt like it might be boring. When I come across the trailers for Robert Zemeckis's The Walk, it got me curious enough to watch this documentary, even though I watched The Walk, and it was more interesting then I thought of the documentary. Philippe Petit is really interesting to you can tell that it's his dream to walk across the Twin Towers on a wire. The other interviewers were interesting also, and it does get a bit suspenseful when they were hiding from a police officer. When Philippe does wirewalk, it gets intense that you're just hoping that he doesn't fall. It does get you to know a lot about Philippe Petit, and he kind of talks fast and reenact the past situation that he was in which is interesting. The documentary does lead itself to a surprising end which is unexpected for this genre, and I'm glad it ended that way and watched an amazing documentary movie out of it.
March 5, 2016
This would have made a good half-hour show, but as a full-length movie, it was too boring and repetitive. It needed less talking (interviews) and more about the logistics/science of making the cable wire work.
½ February 25, 2016
Truly rivetting and spine chilling in a way that only a fictional film like The Exorcist could compare on first viewing.
½ February 19, 2016
It lacked the "drug" of a camcorder!
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2016
Based on the memoir of Philippe Petit, Man on Wire tells the extraordinary story of one of the most daring artistic coups of the 20th century. In this documentary Petit and his team recount their 1974 exploit of rigging a high-wire between the World Trade Center towers (still under construction at the time) in order for Petit to give a wire walking performance. In addition to the interviews, original footage and re-enactments are used to help complete the story; showing how the team planned and trained for the event (infiltrating construction crews, building scale models, etc.). However, the filmmakers don't explore the larger context; the impact that the event had. Still, Man on Wire is a remarkably compelling look at a feat of incredible ingenuity and audacity.
½ January 29, 2016
Well, I get it now. After finally getting around to watching this, I totally understand why people love it so much. It feels more like a caper movie than a documentary. It's exciting, beautiful and poignant. While it's hard not to be a bit sad at parts now that the twin towers are gone, the movie is in many ways a lovely tribute to their creation and the awe they inspired in so many people, including one totally crazy and amazing Frenchman.
Page 1 of 182