Credit: <i>The Walk</i>

Philippe Petit’s hair-raising 1974 wire walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center was recounted in the Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire (2008), which was superior in every way to this pat dramatization of the stunt by Robert Zemeckis (Cast Away, Flight). Zemeckis’s main innovation is a narrative frame delivered by Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, wearing bangs and suggesting Pepe Le Pew) from the torch scaffolding on the Statue of Liberty, and his screenplay—cowritten by Christopher Browne and, like the documentary, adapted from Petit’s memoir—settles for the usual dare-to-dream platitudes. Shot in 3-D, this delivers some frighteningly vertiginous moments once Petit steps off the South Tower into empty space, and Zemeckis wisely milks the climactic wire walk, which lasted 45 minutes and drew a crowd of breathless onlookers below, for all it’s worth. With Ben Kingsley and Charlotte Le Bon.