If you could go back to one particular moment in history, what would it be? Someone (most likely the devil) must have asked Robert Zemeckis that question several times during his career and, in a way, many of his films could be described as different answers. In fact, the films Zemeckis is most well known for — the “Back to the Future” franchise — were a marvelous response to that very question. “Forrest Gump” was also one big riff on the query. Even Tom Hanks silently played it over and over in his mind as he sat on that desert island in “Cast Away,” wondering if there was a way he could alter his fate by going back to a pivotal moment or redoing an irrevocable choice.

That point is brought home with both soaring enthrallment and piercing sadness in Zemeckis’ “The Walk.” It takes us to a specific point in time and place: the top of the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City on Aug. 7, 1974. The towers were spanking new, imposingly tall and had yet to endear themselves to New Yorkers — apparently some of the offices were still vacant. However, they soon got a memorable christening (more like a hug) from French tightrope walker Philippe Petit. Using just a cable wire and a balancing pole, Petit walked over the void from one tower to the other, a feat that remains his alone and, due to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, can never be duplicated.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.