Never mind actually replicating the highwire walk of Philippe Petit, who famously skipped along a tightrope strung between New York's Twin Towers back in 1974, just watching the events brought to screen in 'The Walk' has been enough for several early viewers to experience severe vertigo.
The film, starring Joseph-Gordon Levitt in the role of Petit, whose exploits were first told on screen in the Oscar-winning doc 'Man on Wire', had its premiere at the New York Film Festival over the weekend, and there were several reports of people's distinct queasiness afterwards.
Denise Widman told the New York Post, "The last 20 minutes of the film I had to look away a couple of times because of the sensation of the height. I felt a little bit queasy. I felt nervous. It was a tingling sensation and some anxiety.”
And journalist Mark Harris tweeted: “Reports of guys vomiting in the Alice Tully men’s rm post-The Walk: True. Witnessed it/came close. Bad visual trigger for vertigo sufferers.”
Definition of vertigo from Wikipedia: Vertigo is when a person feels like they are moving when they are not. Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement. There may be associated nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking. It is typically worsened when the head is moved. Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness.
The newspaper also reported Mexican filmmaker Percival Arguero-Mendoza, describing the most sick-making part of the film was when it showed Petit actually lying down on the slim cable strung between the two towers.
“It felt very real. I felt a knot in my stomach. It’s like my head was reeling but I was not dizzy,” he said. “The audience got a fear of him falling. It’s like actually picturing in your mind him falling. You really get a sense of depth.”
This will all be music to the ears of director Robert Zemeckis, who told Business Insider he wanted his audiences to experience vertigo as they watched the film.
Philippe Petit's story is an extroardinary one. Having spotted a picture of New York's Twin Towers in a magazine while he was waiting in a dentist's waiting room, he decided it was his destiny to walk between the two. He managed to carry out his unique feat, by hiding overnight in the top room of one of the towers before setting out the next morning.
He managed to rig the cable up between the two towers, before performing on the wire 400 metres above the ground for 45 full minutes, drawing an awestruck crowd on the ground below. He made in total eight passes along the wire, during which he walked, danced, lay down on the wire, and saluted watchers from a kneeling position. Office workers, construction crews and policemen cheered him on. Authorities threatened to pluck him off the wire by helicopter, but Philippe only stepped back off the wire when it began to rain.
'The Walk' is in UK cinemas from 9 October.