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LAist Movie Review: Man On Wire

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Everybody wants to be the first to do something spectacular; it's all wrapped up in glory and vanity and ego. Sort of like every thirteen year old you see. And, to be fair, the main character in Man On Wire (Philippe Petit) is much the same way. His burning desire, overactive hormones, and lanky body would quickly carry him to heights never before walked by man.

As a documentary, Man on Wire is really set nowhere, but the bulk of the movie resides in the mid 1970's, when crazy-ass hippies were seriously down for any old crazy-ass thing. Including, but not limited to, setting up 200 feet of high-tension steel gauge wire to span the newly-built World Trade Center towers. And then walking across it to the other side. In the daytime. 1350 feet above street level. Without permission. Not even from God.

But perhaps God Himself wouldn't be so mad at Petit's audacity, if he'd actually taken a minute to sit down and hear the story of how such an insane scheme could actually come about. And this is what Man on Wire does so beautifully; it presents the saga, not just the story. From the turbulence of youth to the heights of the Notre Dame towers and all the way down to Australia, the story walks in so many different directions you may wonder if it will fall. But of course it never does; balancing perfectly between dual precipices of self-indulgence and sugar-coating.