The Wall

review Bobby Blakey

WWE star John Cena has made a name for himself outside of the ring with some great turns in films with mostly comedic performances. His latest film The Wall has him teaming up with Aaron Taylor Johnson for something way different than he has been doing and taking him back to the world of action/thriller with director Doug Liman at the helm, but does this film offer up the intensity the trailer promises or will it be a shot not worth taking?

The Wall follows two soldiers pinned down by an Iraqi sniper, with nothing but a crumbling wall between them. Their fight becomes as much a battle of will and wits as it is of lethally accurate marksmanship. Going into any war themed film you never really know the full scope of what you are going to get. The trailer for this film let you know the pretty simple premise of it all, but it doesn’t tell you how edge of your seat it is and ultimately works on numerous levels. The cast for the majority of the film is Aaron Taylor Johnson and John Cena for the entire movie with Johnson carrying about 90 % of the film on his lone shoulders. The scenes these two guys have together are both fun to watch and often times heartbreaking and intense. The beginning of the film is pretty lighthearted as it sets everything up, but once that first shot rings out it never lets up. Hot off the heels of his great performance in Nocturnal Animals, Johnson offers up yet another thrilling performance that showcases so many emotions and physicality it makes you believe you are right there with him. Cena is not given as much to do, but what he does is great. This is a different type of role from him that doesn’t offer up any laughs or action, but instead a subtle approach to survival.

What makes this film really work outside of the performances is the realism of it all. There is a truly terrifying tone to it that makes you really think about what these soldiers go through in the field. There aren’t any big twists and turns to make it Hollywood, but there are some interesting mysteries that unfold as it everything plays out. There isn’t a ton of action, but what is here works and is pretty stressful since you never know when it is going to start again. There is another mysterious voice involved in a major role in the film that keeps it moving forward and in turn offers up some great moments that will leave you puzzled and intrigued right up until the very end.

This is one of those movies that will likely not get the push it deserves, but should be seen by anyone that can. While not overly violent there are some bloody moments that are not great to see in the situation they are presenting. I found myself locked onto the screen right up to the very end and while I had a feeling how it was going to end as it approached was surprised it went there and will leave some baffled at the insanity of real life war.  

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