Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Wall - Review

   It’s not uncommon for filmmakers who started small to return once again to the indie, low budget films of their past. And who could blame director Doug Liman for wanting to make a more intimate war drama in between big action blockbusters? The Wall, while not completely unique, offers a small-scale narrative with the potential for some deeper themes and questions about war in general.

   When two soldiers (Aaron Taylor-Johnson & John Cena) are pinned down by an Iraqi sniper, with nothing but a crumbling wall between them, their fight becomes as much a battle of will and wits as it is of lethally accurate marksmanship.

   The plot unfolds through a series of radio contacts between the Americans and the unseen sniper. The Wall is a survival story through and through, all taking place in this one setting behind what is revealed to be a wall of a formerly standing school. There is a sort of cat and mouse game being played and the audience is placed right in the middle of this small skirmish on the fringes of a dead war.

   While The Wall is an obvious choice for director Doug Liman to make, it is almost equally as obvious for Aaron Taylor-Johnson. The actor has slowly proven that he can act with the best of them, between this and Nocturnal Animals, the guy is making his way up the ladder. The only other face the audience sees is John Cena, who handles the role he is given fine, but still not enough to be the second best performance. That title goes to Laith Nakli, who lends his voice to the enemy sniper. Nakli conveys quite a bit through just his voice; you can feel the words he says and get the perspective of his character without ever attaching a face to the character.

   Although the film has it’s moments of drama, it never really ramps up and thus it lacks the intensity it inherently needs in order to work. And despite this, one way The Wall can be commended is for its portrayal of war from both sides, a feat few modern war films attempt. The moral line is blurred and while one is clearly the villain in our eyes, it may not be that way for another.

   Overall, The Wall falls short of the potential it garnered through the talent involved. The film has it’s flaws, but it tells a short and somewhat intense story of those who didn’t start the war, just got caught up in it and have to fight to survive.

   So what did you think of The Wall? Have you seen it? Are you interested in seeing it? Subscribe, share, comment below, and as always return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

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