Man on Wire will probably win Best Documentary this year. Deservedly. It is a phenomenal telling of one of the world’s greatest heists: how a small band of committed people managed to set up a wire between the two towers of the World Trade Center so that daring wirewalker Phillipe Petit could walk between them.
It is a motley crew of Frenchmen, Americans and one Australian who execute an elaborate plan to place a crew on each tower and to set up a wire under the noses of security guards. They don’t all trust each other, and some believe they may be helping Petit commit suicide.
You know Petit survives because there he is being interviewed. And yet you see the pictures of him performing this stunt and you are sure that at any moment he will fall to his death. But he didn’t. Instead he made 8 crosses in 45 minutes before surrendering to authorities.
“I wouldn’t call it walking. I would call it dancing,” says one cop who was sent to arrest him. The stunt itself is the culmination of decades of obsession for Petit, who as a young boy read a story about the towers being built and saw in it his destiny.
As the documentary shows, his entire life was one long preparation to walk that wire. This is a movie about the triumph of his spirit (or, less charitably, his obsession). It is about friendships forged and friendships broken. And it is one edge-of-the-seat heist movie. Go see it now!