Symbolism Crushes Human Connection at ‘The Wall’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

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.

The Wall
The Wall
Photo credit: Music Box Films

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.

The novel by Marlen Haushofer on which writer/director Julian Polsler based his film is the kind of relatable science fiction that clearly has the power to connect through the relatability of its concept. We can all imagine ourselves trapped on the other side of that wall. Could you survive? Could you keep your sanity? The best what-if scenarios work from a place of common human experience and “The Wall” does exactly that.

But it also does nothing more. What are we meant to take from “The Wall”? Is it about a woman finding peace when cut off from society? Getting back to nature? The film becomes tedious quickly as we never get to really know or care about the woman outside of her predicament. With no background or character development she becomes a plot device, leaving us with no people with whom to connect or relate on that side of the wall. I wanted an emotional engagement that never came and “The Wall” essentially turned into an exercise in cinematography. The snow-covered mountains and wide shots of what is now this woman’s entire world have a mesmerizing beauty. It’s too bad that beauty isn’t use in the service of a story that connects.

“The Wall” stars Martina Gedeck and was written & directed by Julian Polsler. It was released on July 5, 2013 at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Adriana Leonard & Carley Marcelle

    CHICAGO – When two passionate content creators got together, they sought not only to produce a work of entertainment, but a higher philosophy within it. Co-Writers/Directors and Executive Producers Adriana Leonard and Carley Marcelle have created “Beta” A Digital Series, and they are about to launch it.

  • Xfinity Watchathon

    CHICAGO – Comcast announced last week that the Xfinity Watchathon Week 2020 will take place from May 11th through the 17th. Included in the free offerings for customers will be the Hulu originals “Little Fires Everywhere” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and other original shows from EPIX, STARZ and SHOWTIME channels. The Watchathon will be available on the X1, Flex and Xfinity Stream platforms.

Advertisement



HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
referendum
tracker