Man on Wire
Directed by James Marsh
A French acrobat performs a tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers.
Man on Wire is a “moving valentine” to New York’s World Trade Center, said Jason Lynch in People. In this documentary, director James Marsh spotlights the daring feat of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, who in 1974 executed a tightrope walk between the twin towers—which were, at the time, the world’s tallest buildings. Marsh performs a “high-wire act” himself, never mentioning the towers’ 2001 destruction, said Lisa Schwarzbaum in Entertainment Weekly. Instead he interweaves still photos, archival footage, first-person recollections, and black-and-white re-enactments to produce a historical document with a “lovely sense of rhythm, wit, and wonder.” Man on Wire is a “marvel of pacing and personality,” said S. James Snyder in The New York Sun, as Marsh brilliantly “matches the spectacle with the behind-the-scenes struggle.” Petit, then 24, had planned the climb for six years, and the director packs Man on Wire with all the thrills of a heist flick. Best of all, he gives us a reason to celebrate “a structure we have spent the past seven years mourning.”