CHICAGO – Mention the name Harry Lennix, and images of his many character roles are bound to emerge – Harold Cooper in the TV series “The Blacklist,” General Swanwick from “Batman v Superman” and Commissioner Blades from Spike Lee’s recent “Chi-Raq.” The deeply knowledgeable Lennix brings his years of dramatic expertise, as he directs the Congo Square Theatre Company’s world premiere stage play “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red.’
Film Review: Symbolism Crushes Human Connection at ‘The Wall’
CHICAGO – “The Wall,” opening today at the Music Box in Chicago, is a numbingly frustrating film in that it constantly defies audience involvement by reminding viewers of its self-importance, tedious degree of seriousness, and general lack of anything approaching common human behavior. Told almost entirely through the narration of its lead character, “The Wall” starts with an interesting concept but goes nowhere with it, giving the viewer too little with which to relate or comprehend and asking them to mistake the clunky narrative as “deep.” It’s the kind of work that I can thoroughly believe connected in its original, written form but never should have been visualized. Once again, the lesson here is that not all fiction in one medium works in another.
An unnamed woman (Martina Gedeck) who narrates the story of “The Wall” goes to a remote hunting cabin with two friends. They leave her there with their dog to head back into the village, presumably to return later that night. She’s upset when they don’t come back for her and worried when she wakes in the morning to find them still absent. She begins to walk to town and runs head first into an invisible wall. At first, she seems startled, then afraid, and then truly baffled when she can see through part of the wall that the rest of the world seems to have frozen still. She sees an old man pouring water on his hand and an old woman sitting on a porch. Neither moves. She presumes that the rest of the world is dead (and, to her, they are), choosing to try and go on with her new canine companion.
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “The Wall” in our reviews section.|
The woman keeps a diary and this diary makes up the entirety of the narrative of “The Wall.” We hear about her battles with severe weather, her discovery of a cow & a cat, adding to her unique family (the film’s delicate approach to man’s connection with animals is its best quality), and her struggles with her own sanity. She makes almost no effort to define the boundaries of her new world or even really question why it’s happening after her first few attempts to escape. She kind of just accepts her fate, living off the land and caring for her animal friends, who, in turn, protect her.
Photo credit: Music Box Films