Directed and Produced by: Doug Liman
Written by: Dwain Worrell
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena.
A taunt psychological thriller set in 2007 when President George Bush declared the War in Iraq over.
Rebuilding the country, contractors are brought in to build pipelines across the desert.
After been radioed for assistance, two soldiers, Sergeant Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) an Army Ranger who serves as a spotter to Sergeant Matthews (John Cena), lie amongst the rocks, camouflaged, waiting for movement. All they see on the dusty ground is the bodies of dead contractors, all head shots, and one marine holding a radio in his dead hand.
All is quiet, yet they wait, watching, trying to figure out the story behind the dead and if there’s still a threat.
As the story unfolds, so do the men as they’re stripped, piece-by-piece by the faceless, hidden sniper who pins Sergeant Isaac behind a crumbling wall, to then speak into his earpiece, to burrow like a worm into his mind.
Although, The Wall is about soldiers, this isn’t a movie about war, this is suspense created through stretches of quiet: a patient relentless waiting of a killer who plays with his intended kill like a cat with a mouse.
The soundtrack is the wind whistling through the bricks and the distant clap of metal sheeting and the crackle of voice; of men fighting and hiding behind words.
Director, Doug Liman (Mr & Mrs Smith, The Bourne Identity) has taken a solid script from first-time screenwriter Dwain Worrell and made a low budget film into a simple yet very effective suspense thriller.
Dwain Worrell researched the daily life of soldiers extensively, including PTSD. Creating a story of strangers murdering each other. About legendary Iraqi snipers creating a paranoia that comes to life.
Adam Taylor wrote an article in, The Washington Post, in January 2015: “There were similar legends of Iraqi insurgent snipers. Probably the most famous was that of ‘Juba’, a sniper with the Sunni insurgent group Islamic Army in Iraq, whose exploits were touted in several videos released between 2005 and 2007. Some attributed scores, even hundreds, of kills to the sniper, and accounts from the time suggest he got deep under U. S. troop’s skins.”
The idea of psychological torture reminded me of the original, Saw film (2004), similar in that the characters are trapped and tormented through the words of a faceless enemy. And dang it, after the film finished and I was walking out of the cinema, I overheard another critic saying they had the same feel as the, Saw Franchise, because that feeling of being trapped is there. Yet, The Wall is more about the suspense then the gore. Giving a glimpse into those suffering from PTSD: the tense waiting for the bad to happen, the waiting being the torture.
A seemingly simple film: two characters, one wall set over the course of one day. Yet, The Wall was a thoroughly absorbing story handled by the sure hand of smart director.
If you like your suspense, this is a well-paced journey with a well-thought ending. Much better than expected.