Man On Wire
Almost every American film made since September 2001 has been probed and prodded for a post-9/11 subtext. Directed by James Marsh, The King (2005) explored the rise of the Christian right in the Bush era, with a family drama of Old Testament proportions. With Man On Wire, Marsh has crafted a documentary about the World Trade Centre that never once mentions that day the earth stood still. Instead, it focuses on Philippe Petit, a French tightrope daredevil who, in 1974, danced on a wire strung between the Twin Towers. The film mixes new interviews with archive footage, home movies and reconstructions with tremendous flair, never resorting to documentary cliché: the film is structured in flashback; interviews are shot from high angles; and the reconstructions are modelled on silent comedies and thrillers. The whole amounts to a ripping perfect crime yarn, the charismatic Petit proving an irresistible narrator whose determination mirrors that of Elvis in The King, but without the bloodshed.