The Wall

(2017)

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Title:
The Wall
Release Date:
12th May 2017
Runtime:
81 min
MPAA Rating:
R
Genres:
Directors:
Doug Liman
Writers:
Dwain Worrell
Languages:
English
Stream Quality:
1080p / 720p / 480p

Storyline

Two American Soldiers are trapped by a lethal sniper, with only an unsteady wall between them.

Ratings

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 68%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 63%
IMDb Rating 7.2

Casts

John Cena as Matthews
Laith Nakli as Juba

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by trublu215 12th May, 2017

A Bare Bones Thriller That Works More Than It Doesn't

The Wall is the latest thriller from director Doug Liman and features Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena as a two man recon team stationed in Iraq who are pinned down by sniper fire and must take refuge behind a wall. Their calls for help are heard by no one...except the enemy sniper. As the battle of wits rages on so does the courage of the two men and their will to survive. This proves to be very beneficial for this film because, honestly, it did not feel like it would be able to sustain a feature length film. However, with the sheer intensity of the film and the perfect performances from Johnson and Cena, The Wall works even when it doesn't. First off, the film is a lean, mean 80 minutes. As soon as the film starts, it starts. There is no warming up to it, it drops you in the movie unapologetic. What comes next is a reckoning of pure adrenaline pumping cinema. Much like last year's The Shallows, The Wall benefits from its bare bones approach. There isn't big explosions or typical warfare, this is more a war of wits which has been done before (and better) but this film is successful in the way that it doesn't need huge action numbers to sustain suspense. Director Doug Liman knows what it is and he knows the strengths are in the performances. It makes for a very interesting addition in the new age war film genre, sitting nicely between The Hurt Locker and American Sniper. Despite all that is well with the film, there are a few moments where you're expecting the film to go one way and then it absolutely does not take any risks and gives you exactly what you expected. For that, I have to say that it was disappointing to not see as much innovation with such a bare bones film. For me, I like when characters are forced to use their environments for their benefit. The Wall definitely did that but in sort of a half-assed way. There really isn't anything clever or cool about the way it all pans out. With that being said, it still makes for an intense movie even if sometimes it feels a little cheap. Overall, The Wall is a short yet intense film that will keep you hanging on until the last frame. The performances from Aaron Taylor Johnson and John Cena are nothing short of amazing. This is especially for John Cena, who absolutely blew me away with his fantastic performance as Matthews. While Cena shines, so does Aaron Taylor Johnson who bucks up and carries the movie on his shoulders without even thinking about it. It stands as Johnson and Cena's best performances to date and it definitely is worth watching.

Reviewed by David Ferguson ([email protected]) 11th May, 2017

Juba and Ize

Greetings again from the darkness. When a director's filmography includes "big" action movies like Edge of Tomorrow, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and The Bourne Identity (the original), the last thing we expect is a stripped-down war movie whose camera focuses on a single character almost the entire run time. Director Doug Liman certainly understands how to use the camera in creating tension and stress, yet while he and writer Dwain Worrell seem so intent on proving the confusion and futility of war, they seem to forget that a thriller needs either a hero to cheer or a villain to jeer. It's late 2007, and the war is winding down as rebuilding efforts are underway. Hulking Staff Sergeant Matthews (John Cena) and his fellow soldier Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) have been perched and camouflaged on the side a hill for more than 20 hours as they carry out reconnaissance on the site of an under-construction oil pipeline. All they have seen is the remains of a massacre – 8 bodies with no signs of life. Peering through his malfunctioning scope that once belonged to a now-dead friend, Isaac (known as "Ize" – get it?) and his training thinks something doesn't seem right. When Matthews deems the site safe, he heads down to check it out. Of course, all heck breaks out and soon enough, an injured Isaac takes shelter alone behind a teetering stone wall. It turns out a sniper, more patient than the American soldiers, had been biding time for the moment. The first eight bodies are construction contractors and a security detail … none of which mattered to the sniper. The hook here is that the sniper hacks into Isaac's radio and seemingly wants to chat it up, rather than finish him off. We never see the sniper, and neither do Matthews or Isaac … but we do hear him plenty. Laith Nakli voices Juba – known to American soldiers as the Angel of Death, responsible for dozens of US casualties. The film spirals into a psychological game of chess – or, more fittingly, the torture of Isaac. This isn't the war we've come to expect in movies. Isaac's situation seems hopeless, and banter with the man responsible never strikes him as a worthwhile pursuit. The biggest issue here is that Juba seems the most interesting character, and not only are we never provided a way to connect with/hate him, we don't even get enough backstory to bond with Isaac. Plenty of obstacles are thrown at Isaac: blowing sand, lack of drinking water, skittles for sustenance, blazing sun/heat, radio issues, and a brutally painful knee wound courtesy of Juba. The success of the movie depends on two things: Aaron Taylor-Johnson selling us on Isaac's predicament, and the radio dialogue between he and Juba. The former is fine, but the latter falls short. Better sniper movies include American Sniper and Enemy at the Gates, while more effective (mostly) one-character thrillers include Locke, Buried, and 127 Hours. The film makes excellent use of sound, but the little jabs at American ideals grows old quickly (such as asking who is the real terrorist). A different approach to a familiar topic deserves a chance, but while Juba only misses on purpose, the efforts of Mr. Liman and Mr. Worrell miss the mark by not engaging the viewer with the character(s).