t h e w a l l
5th July 2013
Martina Gedeck, Lynx the Dog
11th July 2013
The Wall was a really intriguing prospect but now i come to think about it, I’m really not sure what I was expecting. I’ve seen quotes for it that describe it as ‘transcendental’, well maybe. It is more likely a film that I’m going to spend some time beating myself up over because clearly, I missed something crucial.
The movie is pretty simple in its setup. A woman arrives at a cabin with a couple and their dog. The couple drop her off and head back into the local village on foot, anticipated to return that evening to be awake in time for the dawn hunt. They never return and when the woman awakes and attempts to walk into town with the dog, she encounters an invisible wall in the road that she can’t pass. On investigation, she find some people outside a nearby cabin but they are frozen in time and unable to respond to her cries.
We first encounter the woman (I’m not being lazy, that’s the only credit for her) an indeterminate period of time on form the initial discovery, writing a journal of her experiences in order to keep herself sane. The film then spools back from this presumably unreliable narrator and the woman explains how she got to be where she was.
What we get is less a meditation on loneliness, more a survival tale from an incredibly resourceful woman. Gedeck is great as the only significant human player in the piece. She is entirely convincing in her transformation from whatever she was before the wall (it’s never made clear who she was or how she came to be at the cabin in valley with the couple) to a self sufficient survivor. Her survival is largely underplayed, she takes extremely well to hunting and preparing deer and it’s only in moments when her animals are needing to be looked after or are threatened that we see her vulnerable.
My main issue with the movie was the lack of connection I felt with the woman. Because we aren’t really introduced to her - we see none of her background - it diminishes our interest in her. If we knew her better, we would feel her issues more keenly. As it is, she is just a blank vessel, adrift in a confined but astonishingly beautiful landscape.
On the landscape, it is really, really stunning. The stark contrast between the general beauty of the surroundings and the woman’s lament about fearing the long dark afternoons is striking. Barely a frame goes by when you aren’t admiring the sheer beauty of the surroundings.
The film of course (and this isn’t a spoiler), offers no explanation for the wall, this isn’t an episode of The Twilight Zone. You aren’t going to get a nice neat wrap up commentary at the end. I suspect speculating over the reason and nature of the wall itself is pretty much futile (the nearest I got was some sort of Purgatory), the interest lies in the woman’s coping with her new situation. Or maybe there is more there that and I’m just not smart enough to work it out. Well so be it. I’m not sure how much I really enjoyed The Wall. On the one hand, it is beautiful and magnificently well played. On the other... well, I’m not sure. It’s too enigmatic to be properly mysterious and too oblique to be engaging. Oh, and Lynx the dog is just wonderful.
Check out the trailer for The Wall here.