Having served in the Norwegian military, I can always appreciate a well-made military movie. And by that, I mean one not glamourising heroes, advcating violence and being too jingoistic, which is how Hollywood tends to depict wars. Having seen the trailer for The Wall, I knew that this movie would be different, and I was not disappointed.
The Wall is not a story of heroic deeds, nor does it have a lot of action scenes. What it does have is a lot of psychological tension that is shared with the viewer, from the point of view of a wounded sniper team member, taking cover behind a very thin brick wall. And this tension is well used throughout the movie.
After observing a construction site for several hours, a US sniper/spotter team end up being wounded after taking fire from an enemy sniper. The sergeant and main sniper, portrayed by John Cena of WWE fame, is severely wounded and lying out in the open and on the ground, while his spotter (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) manages to take cover behind said thin wall.
The rest of the movie is a game of cat and mouse, where the spotter attempts to get help, while trying to figure out where the enemy sniper is hiding. But the enemy sniper is not an unknown, secret or hidden entity though, as both soldiers do get to communicate, which in turn raises the tension of the film.
And this is the point where the movie turns down a strange dark alley. It is actually fascinating to see how they have managed to make this movie, without physically moving away from the little plot of land where this wall is standing. And taking into account the fact that this movie is mainly about the interaction between two snipers, or at least a spotter and a sniper, and less focused on the action, it is no less than incredible that the movie doesn’t feel slow or long-drawn. The 1 hour 30 minute long movie actually felt shorter, and I must say I enjoyed it!
Without going into details, and thereby throwing spoilers at you readers, I will have to keep this short. The fact is, the main parts of the movie is centered on the dialog between the spotter hiding behind a wall and the enemy sniper. As the movie progresses, you get subtle hints that helps you see the full picture bit by bit. And yet, a sudden turn of events completely makes you re-think what you have just seen. Yes, there is a twist to the movie, but it is well executed and engineered.
So, if you enjoy military movies filled with action and Michael Bay’s trademark explosions, this one is not for you. But for anyone that likes a thinking man’s (or woman’s) movie, based on military facts, it is surprisingly good!