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The Wall

The Wall

This isn't war. It's a game.May. 12, 2017 USA81 Min.R
Your rating: 0
8.6 1,739 votes

Video trailer


Doug Liman


John Cena isMatthews
Spencer Thomas isJohn Cena Photo/Body Double
John Cena Photo/Body Double


An American sniper and his spotter engage in a deadly cat-and-mouse game with an Iraqi sniper.

The Wall
The Wall
The Wall
Original titleThe Wall
IMDb Rating6.4 776 votes
TMDb Rating4.4 9 votes

(13) comments

  • David Ferguson ([email protected])May 11, 2017Reply

    Juba and Ize

    Greetings again from the darkness. When a director’s filmography
    includes ”big” action movies like Edge of Tomorrow, Mr. & Mrs. Smith,
    and The Bourne Identity (the original), the last thing we expect is a
    stripped-down war movie whose camera focuses on a single character
    almost the entire run time. Director Doug Liman certainly understands
    how to use the camera in creating tension and stress, yet while he and
    writer Dwain Worrell seem so intent on proving the confusion and
    futility of war, they seem to forget that a thriller needs either a
    hero to cheer or a villain to jeer.

    It’s late 2007, and the war is winding down as rebuilding efforts are
    underway. Hulking Staff Sergeant Matthews (John Cena) and his fellow
    soldier Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) have been perched and camouflaged
    on the side a hill for more than 20 hours as they carry out
    reconnaissance on the site of an under-construction oil pipeline. All
    they have seen is the remains of a massacre – 8 bodies with no signs of
    life. Peering through his malfunctioning scope that once belonged to a
    now-dead friend, Isaac (known as ”Ize” – get it?) and his training
    thinks something doesn’t seem right. When Matthews deems the site safe,
    he heads down to check it out. Of course, all heck breaks out and soon
    enough, an injured Isaac takes shelter alone behind a teetering stone
    wall. It turns out a sniper, more patient than the American soldiers,
    had been biding time for the moment.

    The first eight bodies are construction contractors and a security
    detail … none of which mattered to the sniper. The hook here is that
    the sniper hacks into Isaac’s radio and seemingly wants to chat it up,
    rather than finish him off. We never see the sniper, and neither do
    Matthews or Isaac … but we do hear him plenty. Laith Nakli voices Juba
    – known to American soldiers as the Angel of Death, responsible for
    dozens of US casualties. The film spirals into a psychological game of
    chess – or, more fittingly, the torture of Isaac. This isn’t the war
    we’ve come to expect in movies. Isaac’s situation seems hopeless, and
    banter with the man responsible never strikes him as a worthwhile

    The biggest issue here is that Juba seems the most interesting
    character, and not only are we never provided a way to connect
    with/hate him, we don’t even get enough backstory to bond with Isaac.
    Plenty of obstacles are thrown at Isaac: blowing sand, lack of drinking
    water, skittles for sustenance, blazing sun/heat, radio issues, and a
    brutally painful knee wound courtesy of Juba. The success of the movie
    depends on two things: Aaron Taylor-Johnson selling us on Isaac’s
    predicament, and the radio dialogue between he and Juba. The former is
    fine, but the latter falls short.

    Better sniper movies include American Sniper and Enemy at the Gates,
    while more effective (mostly) one-character thrillers include Locke,
    Buried, and 127 Hours. The film makes excellent use of sound, but the
    little jabs at American ideals grows old quickly (such as asking who is
    the real terrorist). A different approach to a familiar topic deserves
    a chance, but while Juba only misses on purpose, the efforts of Mr.
    Liman and Mr. Worrell miss the mark by not engaging the viewer with the

  • trublu215May 12, 2017Reply

    A Bare Bones Thriller That Works More Than It Doesn’t

    The Wall is the latest thriller from director Doug Liman and features
    Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena as a two man recon team stationed in
    Iraq who are pinned down by sniper fire and must take refuge behind a
    wall. Their calls for help are heard by no one…except the enemy
    sniper. As the battle of wits rages on so does the courage of the two
    men and their will to survive. This proves to be very beneficial for
    this film because, honestly, it did not feel like it would be able to
    sustain a feature length film. However, with the sheer intensity of the
    film and the perfect performances from Johnson and Cena, The Wall works
    even when it doesn’t.

    First off, the film is a lean, mean 80 minutes. As soon as the film
    starts, it starts. There is no warming up to it, it drops you in the
    movie unapologetic. What comes next is a reckoning of pure adrenaline
    pumping cinema. Much like last year’s The Shallows, The Wall benefits
    from its bare bones approach. There isn’t big explosions or typical
    warfare, this is more a war of wits which has been done before (and
    better) but this film is successful in the way that it doesn’t need
    huge action numbers to sustain suspense. Director Doug Liman knows what
    it is and he knows the strengths are in the performances. It makes for
    a very interesting addition in the new age war film genre, sitting
    nicely between The Hurt Locker and American Sniper.

    Despite all that is well with the film, there are a few moments where
    you’re expecting the film to go one way and then it absolutely does not
    take any risks and gives you exactly what you expected. For that, I
    have to say that it was disappointing to not see as much innovation
    with such a bare bones film. For me, I like when characters are forced
    to use their environments for their benefit. The Wall definitely did
    that but in sort of a half-assed way. There really isn’t anything
    clever or cool about the way it all pans out. With that being said, it
    still makes for an intense movie even if sometimes it feels a little

    Overall, The Wall is a short yet intense film that will keep you
    hanging on until the last frame. The performances from Aaron Taylor
    Johnson and John Cena are nothing short of amazing. This is especially
    for John Cena, who absolutely blew me away with his fantastic
    performance as Matthews. While Cena shines, so does Aaron Taylor
    Johnson who bucks up and carries the movie on his shoulders without
    even thinking about it. It stands as Johnson and Cena’s best
    performances to date and it definitely is worth watching.

  • steve beard ([email protected])May 13, 2017Reply

    Psychological Cat & Mouse Game

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • rioplaydrumMay 13, 2017Reply


    I got thirsty just watching.

    My first impression was of the completely desolate landscape. No
    plants, trees -just rocks and dust. Makes you wonder how any indigenous
    people, regardless of how sturdy, could ever eek out a living in such a

    I was left flat by the sparing of any visual observations of the
    legendary ‘Juba’, an American trained Iraqi sniper who psychologically
    tortures Isaac, forcing him to begin doubting his own motives for
    staying in the war, and American Patriotism in general.

    To have featured Juba in the flesh would have lent to the film far more
    substance than what we receive.

    No matter how crafty (though desperate) Isaac’s moves might be to turn
    the tables, Juba is always a step ahead.

    No matter it’s scant run time of only 80 minutes, this story could
    easily have packed a lot more in as far as flash backs, character
    development, and supporting roles.

    I liken the film to being served a small slice of filet mignon, a
    couple bites of backed potato, and half a glass of wine.

    All in all a fine work, just not enough of it to go around.

  • commonsensezoneMay 13, 2017Reply

    Voted number 1 movie of the year by Al-Qaeda

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • Paul AllaerMay 13, 2017Reply

    The mind games between an American soldier hiding from an Iraqi sniper

    ”The Wall” (2017 release; 93 min.) brings the story of Isaac. As the
    movie opens, we are reminded that ”It’s late 2007, and the Iraqi was is
    winding down”. We then meet two servicemen who are out somewhere in the
    desert looking for an Iraqi sniper who has killed US contractors. After
    22 hrs.,, Matthews decides to go in, but when he does he is shot. In
    the ensuing chaos, Isaac also gets shot, and in desperation throws
    himself behind a wobbly wall to hide out. It’s not too long before
    Isaac is in radio contact with the Iraqi sniper (pretending to be an
    ally). At this point we’re not even 15 min. into the movie, but to tell
    you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you’ll just
    have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

    Couple of comments: this is the latest movie from director Doug Liman,
    best known for action movies like his previous film ”Edge of Tomorrow”.
    Here, he goes a very different direction. It is in essence a (mostly
    one-man) theater play set in the desert and in three scenes: the
    opening 10 min., the middle 60 min, and the concluding 20 min. The meat
    of the film is the 60 min. (playing out in real time) in which Isaac
    and the Iraqi sniper are playing mind games with each other (but we
    only see Isaac). The performance from Aaron Taylor-Johnson is amazing
    (for one thing, he is out of breath the entire movie–due to heat
    exhaustion and from being shot). He carries the movie on his shoulders,
    both figuratively and literally. Along the way we also understand how
    it is that Isaac and Matthews ended up there, with no apparent backup
    or rescue plans. The movie does not contain any music (but for one
    instrumental playing over the end credits). Please note that the movie
    is shown here on Amazon and also other sources (such as IMDb) as having
    a running time of 81 min. This is simply not correct: the version I saw
    in the theater ran a few minutes over an hour and a half.

    ”The Wall” opened in theaters this weekend, and I couldn’t wait to see
    it. The Saturday early evening screening where I saw this at here in
    Cincinnati was attend okay but still on the low side (considering it’s
    the movie’s opening weekend). Given the nature of the movie (a theater
    play in the desert) and its subject matter (the war in Iraq), I can’t
    imagine this will play very long in theaters, so if this is something
    that might appeal to you, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up
    checking it out on Amazon Instant Video or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.

  • Kusari07May 14, 2017Reply

    Phone booth 2 – Destination Iraq

    I went into the theater thinking this would be a modern Enemy at the
    gates. Instead I got what felt like a horrible sequel to a movie never
    that never made it off the drawing board. If someone was writing a
    budget sequel to Phone Booth and decided to rip off the plot to The
    Hills have eyes 2, then you would have The Wall. The movie was
    basically empty thrills with an obvious end to each. I felt like I was
    watching more of a bad slasher flick then a drama/thriller. The ending
    was really bad, it ruined what little the movie had going for it.

  • TheRothschildsMay 14, 2017Reply

    America needs to invade Iran

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • DarkVulcan29 ([email protected])May 15, 2017Reply

    Perfect Gulf War Thriller

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • emmjay08May 16, 2017Reply

    Tense, Thought-Provoking, Impressive Film

    If tight thrillers are your jam, The Wall is another great addition to
    the genre. I love these kinds of thrillers where the protagonist is put
    in a tight spot and has to find a way out of it. If you liked Phone
    Booth, Buried and 1408, you’ll enjoy this one. Great intensity, great
    dialogue, great acting. Just another brick in the Wall.

  • archmageadriaxeMay 17, 2017Reply

    worst movie ever

    Most boring movie i have ever seen. extremely low budget, not even a b
    movie. Do not waste your time or money on it. you have been warned. I
    liked john in the marine, but this is just a talking movie no action at
    all. If you are wanting a action movie this is not it. Hopefully john
    will pick better scripts next time cause i like the guy.

  • Timothy Lee HuffmanMay 19, 2017Reply

    The 411

    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

  • vanderstevenMay 22, 2017Reply


    *** This review may contain spoilers ***

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