Starring only two actors in John Cena and Aaron Taylor-Johnson ("Nocturnal Animals), “The Wall” is a deadly psychological thriller that takes place in 2007 following two US soldiers who are pinned down by an Iraqi sniper with nothing but a crumbling brick wall between them. Their fight becomes as much a battle of physical will as well as emotional wits to out maneuver one another in this cat mouse game of lethally marksmanship.
REVIEW: “The Wall” is a smart examination of personal self-examination while under the duress and threat of being killed by an anonymous assassin – killer. Specially, the film is more about a personal cathartic cleansing than it is purely about military combat. It’s a bare bones look at how life and death stress and situations seems to be an unusual catapult launching point for unbridled confessions of one‘s most inner deep regions of the soul.
HEY, DOES THIS PLOT SOUND FAMILIAR? Well it should. In 2003 Director Joel Schumacher along with Colin Farrell in the film “Phone Booth” examined similarly a street hustler named Stu who became locked both figuratively and emotionally in a perilous pinned down captive situation inside a New York City phone booth, all the while an anonymous caller (the voice of Kiefer Sutherland) threatens to put a bullet in his head if he ever leaves the booth.
But what started out in “Phone Booth” as a simple action thriller about a deranged killer on the loose, cleverly flipped into a careful meticulously story along the lines of a significant psychological thriller.
We watch Stu go from fearing for his physically life to also fearing having to reveal personal dark secrets of his life all the while his nervously concerned wife waited nearby, including one such secret revealed he had cheated on her with other women.
Comparatively speaking (in a good way) “The Wall”, with a running time of only 80 minutes felt more like 2 hours with its gritty intensity, especially in the long moments when the Iraqi sniper and the US solider engaged in highstakes intellectual verbally jousting with each other, leaving the viewer when long periods of silence kicked in ………………”What’s going to happen next”. And while “The Wall” did have a few moments where these silences and conversations felt more tedious and dull, the story overall is pretty solid throughout.
“Phone Booth” and “The Wall” are almost identical in structure and plot development, with “Phone Booth” the better of the two as it worked harder and smarter into gradually building up to a finale that had more reflective heft at the end. Which is the one major drawback I had with “The Wall” as its finale felt more like someone just ran out of things to say or to do.
Still overall I found “The Wall”, mostly satisfying, griping and entertaining to watch. It’s a very good rental.