[A] breathtaking documentary about that mad-genius coup achieved over three decades ago.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Thorough, understated and altogether enthralling documentary.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
What Marsh shows us is Petit's childlike innocence and almost transcendental faith: faith in himself, faith in his leadership abilities, faith that the escapade would be a success, and faith that he would not fall.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
It all makes for an absorbing, mischievously amusing yarn, whose climax unfolds with unexpected emotional force.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
A documentary about a towering act of daring proves a spine-tingling memorial to recklessness as art.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Exhilarating... a crowd-pleaser in such witty, poetic ways that even an art-house curmudgeon couldn't deny its tidy vigor.
Aaron Hillis - Village Voice
Director James Marsh's hypnotic movie documents French wire walker Philippe Petit's unauthorized, 45-minute balancing act 110 stories above New York in August 1974.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Part of what makes Man on Wire so enthralling, and so entertaining, is the filmmaker's skill in laying out the illegal caper's logistics, mainly through interviews with Philippe and his support team.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Though we know how it ends, it unfolds with suspense. And though it lacks any discussion of the towers' destruction, it succeeds as a tribute to their birth.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
A gift of a documentary.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
James Marsh's rollicking documentary Man on Wire asks not 'Why?' but 'How the hell?'
David Edelstein - New York Magazine
Constructed like a first-rate thriller.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Robert Zemeckis is developing a feature film based on Petit's life and high crimes. Good luck to all concerned, but I can't see how a fictionalized treatment could exceed the achievement of director James Marsh's documentary, which unfolds like a dream.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
In archival photos Petit seems to float between the towers, a tiny black figure against a vivid blue sky; the images are all the more poignant for the unstated fact that Petit is still around when the buildings aren't.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
[A] heart-stopping, knee-buckling and transcendent account.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
There's nothing on movie screens now that can compare with the footage of Petit's performance.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Astonishing. Daring. Mind-boggling. Visually stunning. A true heart-stopper. And, oh yeah, the movie's pretty good, too.
Tom Long - Detroit News
It is one of the most suspenseful, white-knuckled films of the year.
Richard Nilsen - Arizona Republic
As the film traces how he plotted his Word Trade Center walk, it starts to feel almost like a heist movie, as Mr. Petit and his cronies map out each minute detail over the course of month.
Sara Vilkomerson - New York Observer
James Marsh's Man on Wire erupts onscreen as one of the most wildly entertaining docs of recent years.
Robert Koehler - Variety
[An] engrossing and exhilarating documentary Man on Wire, which uses vintage footage, interviews and re-creations.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
James Marsh tells Petit's story, the most inspiring 'heist' in modern history, a Frenchman's stroll between two 110 story buildings in lower Manhattan.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
This film is a celebration of human achievement; it soars with the promise that we are shackled to the ground only by lack of imagination and will.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
In this exhilarating, palm-moistening documentary by British filmmaker James Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip), the twin towers are back to celebrate one of their finest moments.
Jonathan F. Richards - Film.com
[Director] Marsh creates a transfixing documentary feature that doubles as a celebration of one man and an elegy to two buildings that are no more.
Kamal Al-Solaylee - Globe and Mail
Delightful and finally transcendent documentary.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Without bombast or pathos -- as gracefully as a tightrope walker -- Man on Wire brings back a time when the towers were still symbols of aspiration and possibility.
Dana Stevens - Slate
A fascinating time capsule: a combination of talking-head interviews, actual footage, and re-creations that evokes a kinder, gentler world and provides insight into one of the most audacious stunts of the 20th century.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
A surprisingly entertaining, poignant documentary about the most notorious high-wire walk ever.
Frank Scheck - Hollywood Reporter
The word 'documentary' doesn't begin to do justice to [director] Marsh's achievement.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
They say that seeing is believing, but Man on Wire will make you doubt what your eyes are telling you -- it really will -- as you shake your head in amazement and awe.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
- Sight and Sound
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Ben Kenigsberg - Time Out
The pains of the public eye are acknowledged just as much as the joy this artistic endeavour brought people.
Mike Edwards - Obsessed With Film
Mike Edwards - What Culture
Despite a known outcome, James Marsh's documentary offers sublime thrills - grafting the tense suspense of a heist film onto an existential dissection of artistic accomplishment and true friendship.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
The tension builds incrementally, reaching almost unbearable heights at its dizzying climax.
Catherine Wheatley - Sight and Sound
click to read full review
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Interviewed today, Petit is a whale of a storyteller, and he recalls with relish the chilling details of that amazing day.
Gerald Peary - Boston Phoenix
Man On Wire's cinematic tension that in the wire Philippe Petit balanced on as he walked between the Twin Towers in the history-making high wire stunt shown in this compelling documentary. The film's also a poignant memorial to the hallowed Twin To
Jennifer Merin - About.com
Not only a fun heist movie but also a moving tale of spiritual uplift and beauty.
Devin Faraci - CHUD
The details of how the event was planned and staged are fascinating, but a crucial element missing from the film is good cinematography of the actual event.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
A feat like the one Philippe Petit pulled off deserves to be documented.
Jeffrey Chen - Window to the Movies
I would have found it easier to get emotionally invested in Le Coup (rather than abstractly awed) if I had a better sense of his coup de foudre.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
Petit transforms his stories into mini-masterpieces of performance.
David Cornelius - eFilmCritic.com
Man on Wire is absolutely breathtaking, a documentary as life-affirming as it is artistically intoxicating.
Brandon Fibbs - BrandonFibbs.com
Present-day interviews and modern re-enactments provide the piece with its structure, but it's the awe-inspiring archival footage that makes this a giddy watch.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
It's a great deal of fun, playing not unlike a crafty caper film with loads of spine-tingling suspense.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Une oeuvre d'une puissance dramatique inouie
Jean-Francois Vandeuren - Panorama
This is a fascinating account of a moment from history that will never be repeated.
Tony Medley - tonymedley.com
The erasure of the towers adds poignance and irony to a documented event that is inherently thrilling and beautiful.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
It's a story worth telling, yes -- but after 90 minutes, it's hard not to wonder if the storyteller can talk about anything else.
Noel Murray - AV Club
This is the story of a group of conspirators bent on shocking humanity with an outrageous plot regarding the World Trade Center, a plot involving an act so mind-boggling it staggers the imagination.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
- National Post
By any rational gauge, Petit's WTC obsession was flat-out crazy, but Marsh takes a limpid, nonjudgmental view of it all.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
- Irish Times
Director James Marsh assembles this material into an offbeat but often unbearably exciting heist movie -- a white-knuckle ride of a thriller that can stand up against such classics of the genre as Rififi, Topkapi and Robbery.
William Arnold - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
A highly entertaining and extremely accessible film.
Allan Hunter - Screen International
James Marsh's documentary is the story of the dreaming and scheming that went into the walk, which I hesitate to call a stunt. It seems too glib a word for a feat that inspired the poignant complex of emotions uncovered by Marsh's narrative.
Sandra Hall - Sydney Morning Herald
The simplicity of Philippe's vision is intoxicating, as is his self-assurance.
- FILMINK (Australia)
This film is a treasure.
Julie Rigg - MovieTime, ABC Radio National
Sufferers from vertigo be warned: Man on Wire contains some of the most amazing scenes of hire-wire brilliance ever filmed.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
It's a hell of a story, and Petit is a mesmerising storyteller, with an extravagantly poetic turn of phrase and the glittering eye of the Ancient Mariner.
Jake Wilson - The Age (Australia)
Marsh uses a combination of interviews, film of Petit as a young man, authentic newsreels and enacted reconstructions to produce an unforgettable experience.
Evan Williams - The Australian
Marsh stitches his story together with a seamless melding of interviews, stills, re-enactments and archival footage augmented by a wonderful score by Michael Nyman and the New York composer J. Ralph.
Sandra Hall - The Age (Australia)
Man on Wire is a film with everything: truth, drama, suspense, tension, sex, heartbreak, humour, crime and triumph
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Part re-enactment, part archival home movie, part historical and part social document, the subject is ideal as a story more fantastic than fiction
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
As cops waited to arrest him, he laughed, kneeled, laid down on the wire and spoke with a seagull. Wonder if its name was Jonathan Livingston?
Phil Villarreal - Arizona Daily Star
A film that's suspenseful, fun, inspiring and finally, even moving. In other words, see this movie.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
A model of documentary storytelling, 'Man on Wire' is as gripping and suspenseful as a good heist film...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
As the subject of James Marsh's brilliant documentary Man on Wire, Petit proves that there can be joy in doing what others would consider to be insane.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
Are these people inspiring, talented stars, pursuing a difficult and dangerous athletic feat, or are there they disturbed nuts with a death wish? The film doesn't judge and doesn't take sides.
Stephen Silver - The Trend
Petit is such an ebullient guy it's hard not to get sucked into his high-wire antics.
Meg Jones - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Marsh finds Petit is as puckish today as he was 34 years ago.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
The film really puts you in the shoes of those New Yorkers who looked up from their daily lives one day and saw something utterly unimaginable.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Art and deviltry combine and permeate this ode to a man's dream.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
It mines recent history in a way that makes it seem new and invigorating, reminding us of how wonderfully, blissfully deranged human behavior can be
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
Surprisingly thrilling and enthralling, and it does give you an appreciation for the sort of enthusiasm and craziness that it took for them to have done this in the first place.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
James Marsh's remarkable documentary is a reminder that in a rigid world filled with rules and regulations, true beauty can come from the most indefinable of acts.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Director James Marsh approaches this subject with a childlike sense of wonder in his documentary, delighting in the skulduggery behind the event.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
Man On Wire is an engrossing film that captures the imagination and never ceases to entertain.
Kevin Craft - Miami Herald
If Man on Wire were fiction it would be hailed as a terrific suspense film, a fascinating character study and an awesome spectacle. But it's true, which makes it all the more remarkable.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
We know it didn't end with Petit falling to his death, but darned if it isn't still compelling to see the caper laid out.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
The story that looks back at the incident plays like a great caper film. The operation to get into the tower and string the wire was a combination of ingenuity, planning and exquisite timing since the top of the building was still a construction site.
Adam Fendelman - HollywoodChicago.com
Maintains a sense of excitement and poetry.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
A talking-heads documentary has no business working as a nerve-wracking thriller, but here we have Man on Wire....one of the most exciting movies to come out all year.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Petit himself is a bundle of energy, passion, and enthusiasm as he describes his dreams and the nuts and bolts details of achieving it. Marsh lets the story play out like a heist film.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
grasps just what it means to be human and to express it fully
John A. Nesbit - Old School Reviews
Fascinating documentary with an added white knuckle component.
Boo Allen - Denton Record Chronicle (TX)
The man is clearly a nut, but he's also a great storyteller with a heck of a story, and Man on Wire gives him a chance to tell it.
Robert Davis - Paste Magazine
A documentary every bit as entertaining and rebellious as the real life figure at its center.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
Beautifully put together, it is every bit as suspenseful as even the best Hollywood heist films, which is even more remarkable when you consider that we know, from the first frame, that Petit will survive.
Andy Klein - Los Angeles CityBeat
[Petit is] such an impassioned and energetic interview subject that it's remarkable that someone didn't make Man on Wire earlier.
Brian Tallerico - The Deadbolt
This movie about Petit's achievement is a gust of fresh air, offering the inner workings of a lark that put a man's life at risk -- and also made him immortal.
Michael Sragow - Baltimore Sun
Mesmerizing, heart-stopping and overpoweringly beautiful.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Engrossing...rich and visually well-documented telling of a fascinating story.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
The recollections of Petit and his crew, as well as cleverly staged re-creations of the illicit preparations for the walk, form the backbone of Marsh's compelling and at times awe-inspiring film.
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
The film's soaring climax becomes surprisingly emotional thanks to testimony from those lucky enough to have witnessed it.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday