Review: The Wall (15)

WARRIOR: John Cena in The Wall, out in cinemas now.WARRIOR: John Cena in The Wall, out in cinemas now.
WARRIOR: John Cena in The Wall, out in cinemas now.
Sandwiched between two Tom Cruise blockbusters '“ The Edge of Tomorrow and the forthcoming American Made '“ producer and director Doug Liman's latest feels like something of a cinematic palate cleanser.

Set in Iraq in late 2007, just as American involvement is supposedly winding down, real-time thriller The Wall homes in on Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s marine as he’s pinned down by an Iraqi sniper in the baking heat of a bombed-out settlement.

With his fellow marine (played by John Cena) bleeding out and his radio damaged, Isaac (Taylor-Johnson) is soon embroiled in a battle of wits with a hyper-intelligent Iraqi sniper whose insights into the war rattle the secret-bearing American.

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Essentially a two-hander between Taylor-Johnson and the disembodied voice of his adversary (played by Laith Nakli), what follows is a solid example of the sort of single-location thriller – Locke, Buried, Phone Booth – that often ends up being more intriguing as a concept than a movie.

Here, though, Liman keeps everything tightly wound and over the course of its brief 90-minute running time Dwain Worrell’s script presents a compelling look at how conflict is repeatedly scalated by underestimating the enemy.

On general release.

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