FILM REVIEW | The Wall

Doug Liman is a director who thrives on action.

His most famous films – The Bourne Identity and Mr and Mrs Smith – are as action-packed as it gets.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect his new war film would be a blaze of gunshots and explosions from start to finish.

The Wall, however, is anything but a shoot-’em-up fest.

The tense war film follows two American soldiers – Sergeant Isaac “Eyes” Allen and Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews – stranded in an abandoned part of Iraq after the war has ended.

They were called to help a group of civilian American contractors who radioed for assistance – however, all of them, and their security detail, were killed.

The soldiers, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals) and John Cena (Trainwreck) find themselves set upon by an unseen gunman.

The pair are separated, with Cena’s severely injured Staff Sergeant Matthews stranded out in the open while Taylor-Johnson’s Isaac seeks refuge behind a flimsy stone wall.

The hidden sniper contacts Isaac over the radio and the pair begin a back-and-forth exchange, each trying to figure out exactly what the other knows and where they stand. The cat-and-mouse game between them, with a largely incapacitated Matthews in the middle, ramps up the tension.

Taylor-Johnson carries most of the film by far.

With little room to move and his face covered with dirt and grime, the British actor – again calling on his incredible knack for accents – delivers a powerhouse performance in trying circumstances.

Tense moment: Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars as US soldier Sergeant Isaac "Eyes" Allen in Doug Liman's The Wall, rated MA15+ and in cinemas now. Picture: Amazon Studios

Tense moment: Aaron Taylor-Johnson stars as US soldier Sergeant Isaac "Eyes" Allen in Doug Liman's The Wall, rated MA15+ and in cinemas now. Picture: Amazon Studios

The Wall is very much a character-driven movie.

It ruminates on American’s place in Iraq after the war and the nature of the soldier’s experience.

It explores guilt, fear, anger and more as Isaac bides his time behind the wall, wondering just how he found himself in this position.

The Wall moves slowly and spends the majority of its time inhabiting a small space behind a collection of stones.

Some viewers may be put off by the lack of action.

Most of the drama happens internally, but when there are action sequences they are full of tension and adrenaline and really get the heart racing.

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