Doug Liman has directed two of the best action thrillers in the past 15 years in The Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow. I’ve always liked him so I was looking forward to his newest film, The Wall, ever since the trailer was released. Also being a fan of Aaron Taylor-Johnson and loving how John Cena is finally breaking into more roles, this film seemed like a pretty solid triple threat. How does it actually hold up? Pretty well actually.
The Wall is a self contained thriller that takes place mostly in real time, save for a few time jumps. in 2007 at the end of the Iraqi War, Sergeant Allen Issac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews (John Cena) are investigating a pipeline construction site that has a few dead bodies scattered around it. When they both realize they are trapped due to an enemy sniper pinning them down and all that stands between them and death is a brick wall that looks like one good push will bring it down.
This movie is very minimalist in that it doesn’t have lot of action and explosions in it. It’s more in line with a psychological thriller then a action war film. That’s something I found myself really enjoying. The way Doug Liman shoots this movie really goes a long way in making it feel consistently fresh which could of easily been the opposite if not for the camera always moving. Also lending itself is just how amazing Aaron Taylor-Johnson is in this film. He blew me away with how nuanced and real his performance felt. This is his movie and he runs with it. Between this and last years Nocturnal Animals, he is starting to do some great things on screen and I can’t wait for what’s next. John Cena is also good in the movie and he has a couple pretty funny lines. He is really impressing me with his comedic timing and now he has impressed me with his serious acting skills too, he does a great job with this role.
The film is a lean 80 minutes so it feels like a breeze to get through. It has no set up and just throws you into this situation these characters are faced with and I enjoy when movies just go with the actual plot and don’t bother with like the first 20 minutes of unnecessary build-up.
The Wall works for what it is. Of course this kind of storytelling method has been done before and done better. But I think Doug Liman’s direction and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s performance elevate this movie a lot. I went into this movie not knowing what I was gonna get and I was pleasantly surprised and invested. Fans of bottle movies and contained movies will enjoy this one. I wouldn’t say this is a rush out and see type movie but I think if you’re looking for a good film to see in theaters, go see this. Definitely check this one out when it comes to Amazon Prime.