James Marsh's Man on Wire looks at the socalled 'artistic crime of the century' when Philippe Petit tightropewalked between New York's twin towers in August 1974.
The dramatic scenes of the day's events is revisited using original footage and reconstructions, with an array of recollections from an incredibly vivacious Philippe, from co-conspirators and from his former lover Annie.
The documentary begins by looking back at Philippe's career from his humble beginnings of walking the wire a few feet above the ground in his late teens.
His passion for pushing the boundaries of safety and legality lead him to exhibit his skills on much greater platforms around the world, including across Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the early 70s.
Many of these early stunts only have still photographic accounts, but the exuberance generated by Philippe is phenomenal, as he candidly paints the imagery with his animated outbursts.
From the opening scenes, Philippe manages to capture the imagination of the audience as he recounts his amazing rise to world wide phenomenon. And his matter of fact approach to the spectacular feats he accomplishes is a breath of fresh air, as he channels his contagious energy into being an uncompromising entertainer, with his feet firmly on the floor (so to speak).
After the initial back story of the fearless Frenchman, Director James Marsh is able to establish how Philippe came to be in a position of walking between the towers of the World Trade Centre.
The imposing skyscrapers dwarf Philippe and he soon realises the magnitude of his planned actions.
But throughout, Philippe shows no fear - just pure determination to succeed.
There are moments that cannot fail to make you erupt with laughter, but this is then paralleled with periods of touching emotion, which bring you back to earth with a bump, as you realise that his friends couldn't help him in his attempt because they knew the severity of a misplaced step could be catastrophic.
Philippe's pin-point plan of action for the twin towers stunt took months of preparation and was run like a military operation. Granted, not everything went to plan, but when he walks across the hazy New York City skyline, it's a spectacular sight from any angle.
After a 45-minute performance, ignoring the demands of the NYPD to get off the wire, Philippe eventually hops off with a beaming smile, only to be led away in handcuffs.
The fact the towers are no more is one thing, but it's impossible to image what would happen to anybody breaching security today in the way Philippe and his team did then.
All in all, the film is an amazing tale, which is aided by Philippe's eccentricity. Man on Wire is a flawless production, which tells a stunning story of an individual's resoluteness that will live on in the hearts and minds of many for decades to come.