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The Film Stage
At its core, The Wall serves as a well-made, engaging war-time thriller that showcases Liman’s abilities as a top-notch storyteller, no matter the shape or size of the story being told.
The Wall succeeds because of Worrell’s words.
Consequence of Sound
Liman is no stranger to tense, effective thrillers – his last outing was the criminally undervalued Edge of Tomorrow – and on that level, The Wall surprisingly works.
The Wall packs a surprisingly savage punch by boiling the exploits of battle down to its essential elements.
An effective, albeit somewhat artificial, exercise in suspense, The Wall derives much of its propulsion from Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s grunting, grimacing performance as a wounded US soldier squaring off with an unseen Iraqi sniper.
We Got This Covered
Aaron Taylor-Johnson deserves more credit as an actor, because he's the only reason this Iraq War thriller hobbles steadily on two legs.
The director’s instincts are a bit too broad to sell the full psychic horror of this scenario, and Taylor-Johnson will never be accused of being able to shoulder a movie by himself, but a super coherent sense of space and a vivid feel for the environment help The Wall to remain upright to the end.
The Hollywood Reporter
While one can admire the commitment, technique, concentration and stamina required to keep the pressure cooker at maximum temperature, it still feels like an exercise, one so dramatically monotonous and tonally high-pitched that you want to escape almost as much as the characters do.
When The Wall goes wrong, it doesn’t instantly crumble, though you can feel the foundation collapsing underneath the film’s feet. Taylor-Johnson, who must carry it, holds our interest. It’s just that we know, judging from that fatal flaw screenwriter Dwain Worrell built in as a plot contrivance, that it won’t end well, either.
Liman, for all his action acuity, struggles to make lying behind a wall exciting. He manages some tense and rousing sequences, but between them yawn scenes of the killer jabbering bullshit and the hero passing in and out of consciousness.
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