Rated: R for language throughout and some war violence. Reviewed by: Jim Release date: May 12, 2017 Released by: Roadside Attractions
Shot in California, this small-scaled Iraqi war drama has a tenuous, if taut dynamic akin to Buried or Phone Booth. A change of pace in a way for helmer Doug Liman after Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. He'll be with Cruise again in an updated revision of The Mummy as the cineastes look to escape the summer heat.
Mainly a two-handler is The Wall a spare cat-and-mouse vision when all the rounds ammunition hasn't let up upon victory being declared in 2007 in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
An unseen enemy will be heard, probably Sunni Juba ('angel of death' a sniper with scores of American casualties), by Aaron-Taylor Johnson's spotter Allan 'Ize' Isaac after his presumptuously hasty Army Ranger Staff Sgt. Shane Matthews (WWE star John Cena of Trainwreck, Sisters, 12 Rounds) and him are downed; Matthews bleeding out in the hot desert sand.
Both had come across an oil pipe line in the midst of a construction setting with an infirm stone wall that Ize (said like "Eyes") uses after trying to come to his superior's aid. Changing his radio to a different frequency gets him entangled with his taunting tormenter (voiced by Laith Nakl). Dwain Worrell's 'black-listed' screenplay lets their dialogue resonate in a way to diffuse other gaffes (noticeable to even less vigilant cineastes). Which accommodates a certain, but limited psychological study and pain (that may be obfuscating in its unveiling) for the protagonist. Their discourse to elicit a misstep has a surprise in store as it unfolds with a Full Metal Jacket disproportionate advantage about it.
For what it is and a modest approach, The Wall succeeds mostly because of the depth Taylor-Johnson (applauded by many in the recent Nocturnal Animals and Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron) offers Ize given the real-time nature of the proceedings. Cena is really the pointer for Taylor-Johnson to get it on with an insidious foe which resolutely rocks often more than what The Wall accomplishes from its machinating masonry.