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</script></div>{/googleAds}When it comes to a documentary as strong as Man On Wire, a nifty maxim such as â"seeing is believing" seems inadequate and, ultimately, is rendered useless because even after watching the film, you still may not believe that the documented high-wire events actually happened but they did. They really did and that fact alone is worthy of 90 minutes of your time. And they are as incredible as they sound; from the Sydney Harbor Bridge crossing to the infamous tightrope walk between the twin towers of The World Trade Center, and equally as entertaining.

Man on WireDirector James Marsh, responsible for the cult classic Wisconsin Death Trip (as well as a documentary over musician John Cale), masterfully directs this spell-binding documentary that impresses even the casual movie-goer with its eye-popping subject matter as well as its blend of modern-day interviews, reenactments, and actual footage; in a few words, Man on Wire is a feast of visual styles.

The film documents the high wire feats of a Frenchman named Philippe Petit and the challenges he faces in order to achieve his daring escapades. The film rocks forward without questioning the judgment of its focus and presents his side of the story the one most people never hear because they dismiss these acts as crazy. Well, maybe they are crazy, but the documentary presents them in a matter-of-fact style that incorporates tastefully recreated scenarios with actual footage marrying the two forms into one cohesive storyline that will amaze and, perhaps, send you to the bathroom should you be susceptible to vertigo or suffer from a fear of heights.

Perhaps the most striking thing about the film is that it very rarely feels like a documentary. True, there are interviews with Petit (both recent and dated), as well as his accomplices, but the film charges forward with the sure-footedness of Norman Jewison's The Thomas Crown Affair or Soderbergh's remake of Ocean's 11. It's as if Marsh were and company were directing a bank heist movie or a criminal caper of sorts where you cheer for the bad guys and hope they don't get caught the film is that smooth. That's the power behind this film; it knows its subject and is confident in its entertainment, so it concentrates more on the narrative flow rather than the history behind the events.

The film asks of its audience to consider revisiting the agreed upon definition of art and challenges are sensibilities with Petit's amazing daredevil feats so high off the ground with no net below - and his rationality for such dramatic bravado.

Component Grades
5 Stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4.5 stars


DVD Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English; Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; bonus footage; audio commentary; deleted scenes; animated short; interview with Philippe Petit.

* Featurettes
o Sydney Harbor Bridge Crossing (20:14), a 1973 short film directed by James Ricketson
o Philippe Petit Interview (12:39)
o The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers (10:11), narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal