Saturday, January 31, 2009

Mini-Review: "Man on Wire"

So we may not get out much, and we haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees this year (a first) but Netflix does allow us to catch up a little before the big night. Last night we saw "Man on Wire" and for two people who have a pretty unhealthy fear or heights, this was "Silence of the Lambs" mixed with all 128 "Saw" movies. Seriously. Imagine a man not just walking but lying down on a wire strung across the tops of the Twin Towers. It's enough to give this girl who is afraid of going on a chair lift enough anxiety to down a lifetime's worth of Paxil. What I love about documentaries like this, and the astonishing "Touching the Void", is that the man in question is telling you the story and you still hold your breath, waiting for him to fall. This may be in part because this dude is one of the best storytellers I have ever been witness to. He's just bursting with life in every shot - still as excited about his feat 30-plus years after the fact as he was when it first happened.
"Man on Wire" is a thoroughly enjoyable film about one man's dream to "dance on the clouds." It has all the tension of a great caper movie in showing you how exactly they were able to pull this thing off, and at the same time, it's pretty amazing and life-afirming. Definitely check it out so when it wins "Best Documentary" you can act all smug and self-important and tell the people you're watching the Oscars with, "Yes, I knew it would win!" I only hope the man in question shows up to give the acceptance speech!

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