Sunday, September 27, 2015

NY Film Festival 2015: The Walk - 'And The Outside World Starts To Disappear.' Indeed...

               The Walk: Inches Away From Death - Literally

The magic of gravity defying 3D special effects may have initially amazed on screen. But through endless repetitive stunts and ongoing artificial green screen revelations at the plexes, what paradoxically results over the course of time and in this latest Robert Zemeckis extravaganza, is less digital dazzle than deja vu.

LISTEN TO THE WALK NYFF PRESS CONFERENCE HERE

And The Walk is no exception, an essentially seeing is not believing cinematic con playing out a mere short distance off the ground - and ironically far closer to earth than say, the elevated Imax theater seating in question - then wrapped in distracting hocus pocus layers of optical illusions. And likely astonishing only preschoolers and those who have never been to the movies.

So what remains is a concoction of dramatic digressions consisting of cartoonish caricatures and scenery chewing silliness, just in case everything else going on tends to dull audience senses. And primarily a perpetually grimacing Joseph Gordon-Levitt doing his hyperactive best to walk a more metaphorical tightrope, reenacting Philippe Petit's 1974 danger junkie high wire stroll between the World Trade Center Twin Towers.

And while the steadfast one dimensional focus remains on head in the clouds logistics for the duration, all sorts of more earthbound disappearing acts ensue. Including that tumultuous and traumatic historical moment in time witnessing the Vietnam anti-war protest movements, racial upheaval, and youth rebellion. And apparently juxtaposed here with the usual capitalist wet dream - whether in or outside of Hollywood. And not coincidentally promoting this economic crisis period movie tagline: Show the world that anything is possible.

Which lends a curious context to Petit's sort of celestial epiphany when the character takes time out momentarily from mime antics to exclaim, 'And the outside world starts to disappear.' Indeed...

Prairie Miller

More information about the NY Film Festival 2015 is online at: Filmlinc.org/nyff2015

Arts Express, Thursdays 2pm ET: Airing on WBAI Radio in NY 99.5 FM, and streaming live and archived everywhere at wbai.org.

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