Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Film #9: The Wall (12A)

Released: 2013
Directed by: Julian Pölsler
Original title: Die Wand (The Wall)

There are plenty of films depicting sole survivors of natural disasters, (often unexplained) global events or horrendous accidents, but normally they take the form of Tom Hanks talking to a ball in Cast Away, or Will Smith doing topless press-ups in I Am Legend. Here, we have Martina Gedeck trekking the Austrian mountains in a philosophical One Woman and Her Dog.

Spending time with two of her friends at their hunting lodge in the forest, our (unnamed) protagonist stays behind with their dog, Lynx, when they decide to head into the nearby town. When they haven’t returned by the next morning, she decides to go and find them. Unfortunately, an invisible wall has seemingly appeared overnight that prevents her from leaving the area. Whilst no explanation is given, it’s definitely not a figment of her imagination, and the only people she can see appear to be frozen in time (dead?) on the other side.

Told in flashback as she records her attempts to come to terms with her situation and learn how to live off the land, this is an interesting but odd film. Not a great deal actually happens, although this makes the occasional flash of action more startling. The diary is a means to maintain her sanity, and as she spends more and more time in the company of animals - particularly the dog, who acts as a great foil to his new mistress - she comes to question what it means to be human, and what she is prepared to do to survive. 

Ultimately we know nothing about Gedeck’s character, and the formal language used in the narration maintains a certain distance between the character and the audience. After all, we’re on the other side of the wall, aren’t we?

The Wall was released on 5th July and may still be showing in selected cinemas.


  1. I do wonder though if there weren't more walls in the German speaking world in the Sixties when the novel was written. Is it contemporary or just the filming of an unfilmable novel?

    Here's the review I posted:

    What film's coming next?


  2. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for your comments. Your review brought up a couple of points that hadn't occurred to me before. Soon I'd like to read the novel and then revisit the film from a new perspective.

    I've got 'The Lives of Others' (which I've seen before) and 'Atomised' (which I haven't) waiting to be watched at the moment.