Movie, Reviews

“The Wall” A Crushing Psychological War Drama

 

A mesmerizing true story that makes you cringe, wince and shudder, The Wall takes you into the backyard of Iraq at the end of the war. Well-acted and directed the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat from the opening sequence to the gut wrenching ending. Much like the film The American Sniper you’ll be holding your breath and squirming in your seat during the tense nearly an hour and a half.

Sergeant Allen ‘Eyes’ Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and sniper Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews (John Cena) are stationed undercover at the top of a hill overlooking a convoy that has been attacked by Iraqi soldiers. The war has been declared over, but there’s still areas where military action continues and the two are waiting out the possibility that the perpetrators of the sneak attack have not left the area.

Sgt Matthews (John Cena) checks for movement in THE WALL

The two men have been covered in camouflage and dirt for several hours and are still assessing the military incident. Both Isaac and Matthews are getting antsy and time worn, their movement hampered by the positons they have confined themselves that allow being undetected. Discussing the situation, Matthews makes the decision to recon the area below and clear any possible threat. With Isaac on close watch Matthews starts his slow trek from the hill. Just as he’s ready to call it, a shot rings out dropping him to the ground.

Sgt Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) gets pinned down in THE WALL

The film goes on from there with Matthews wounded meters from a stone wall and Isaac making the decision to face danger for the sake of his sidekick. Director Doug Liman knows how to show danger having directed the likes of The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. Here he takes the pages from first time screenwriter Dwain Worrell and makes it come alive each step of the way as the two soldiers play a game of cat and mouse against a master enemy sniper trained to take an eyelash off of a deer from thousands of feet.

The two actors are excellent in their roles showing their ability to portray the two soldiers in peril and making decisions while being pinned down. WWE great John Cena’s built like a conditioned special ops soldier and has been around the block with movies like The Marine and 12 Rounds. Here he shows the life and death situation as he’s caught up in no man’s land with nowhere to go. It’s a tense situation and Cena plays it out with aplomb.

His partner Isaac, on the hillside is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. He must make a choice between helping his downed buddy and contacting mission control to medevac them. Lost in the moment he chooses to put himself in the line of fire in a selfless act of heroism. Taylor-Johnson is no stranger to action films playing Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kick Ass and the recent Nocturnal Animals. He’s a very good actor and paired with Cena the two put on a very good display by creating two tough characters in The Wall.

The Wall has been rated R by the MPAA for language throughout and some war violence. It may have had smaller film budget than most war movies, but it plays like a major masterpiece.

FINAL ANALYSIS: An edge of your seat war drama from start to finish.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena
Directed by: Doug Liman- The Bourne Identity
Genre: War, Drama
MPAA Rating:  R for language throughout and some war violence
Running Time: 1 hr. 21 min.
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Distributed by: Amazon Studios

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com