(directed by Julian Roman Pölsler, 2012)
****+ (out of 5)
> Wow. This is one impactful film, if you’ve the stomach for it. THE WALL is not for the weak-minded. If you are able to tune to its rhythms, this can be a very unnerving experience. It’s kind of a fantasy-horror-thriller, yet none of those adjectives do it justice. THE WALL is a dive into the deep end of the human psyche. If you undertake this film, be willing to confront potentially devastating existentialist territory.
… Imagine you are on a holiday with an older couple, visiting a hunting lodge high in the Austrian alps. As soon as you arrive, they take off to the nearby town to go shopping, leaving you behind with the dog, who, strangely, refuses to go along. They plan to be back before dark, but when you wake up in the morning, your friends still haven’t arrived. Worried, you take the dog and begin to walk into town, but as you turn a bend in the road, the dog recoils in horror. You see nothing, so you keep walking… Until you run smack into an invisible barrier that seems to extend in every direction, blocking your way. You think: this CAN’T be happening! I’m dreaming, or hallucinating. So you test the invisible wall again and again and again, only to find out it’s very frighteningly real. I won’t share much more, because here, the essence is in the journey, but I will say for the character this happens to, her life will never be the same.
. Martina Gedeck, (very good in THE BAADER MEINHOF COMPLEX, NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON and especially THE LIVES OF OTHERS,) plays this horror-stricken woman, trapped, alone, in a world that seems to have opted out of time. She is writing a report, longhand, on a rapidly diminishing stack of paper, with a steadily shortening pencil, until both are spent. Martina is grave and somber throughout, and her voiceover narration, a device that drives the film by putting you inside her head when dialogue is not possible, has a kind of hypnotic effect on the viewer that adds to the spooky unease. The film takes its time building the tension and skin-tingling atmosphere, but when things happen- little incidents or big shocks, you really feel the impact.
. This thinking person’s horror film is a deep, occasionally ponderous examination of human loneliness, alienation and isolation. Who are we, if we are suddenly not a part of the family of men? How can we go on, day to day, it life comes to feel utterly meaningless, and a daily struggle to survive? I chose this title simply because the description intrigued me. So did the movie!
> Though not for everyone, THE WALL is a powerful and original film experience. Just: wow!
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