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The Wall

The Wall takes isolation to a whole new level as it deftly explores one woman trapped along in an Austrian hunting lodge.

The basic story here is that a woman, whose name we never learn, wakes up to find herself trapped alone behind an invisible wall. Except for the part about her being alone, it sounds a lot like Stephen King's Under the Dome, but since this movie is based on a book from 1963, I think it's safe to say that if anyone copied anyone, it was Mr. King.

When the woman awakes, she decides to walk to the nearby village only to discover the walking path blocked by a wall she cannot see. Then she heads to a neighboring cabin and finds the wall again. On the other side of the wall, she sees the two people who live in the cabin, a woman sitting on the porch and a man getting water from a well. Neither of them are moving. This explains why the couple she is stay with never returned from the village the night before, or why no one else seems to have come up the path or the road. Everyone outside the wall might be similarly frozen in place. Unlike King's dome, the wall here isn't a circle or straight line, it wanders seemingly aimlessly around the hils, valleys and clearings of the Austrian Alps.

And the woman isn't entirely alone. She has a dog, a cat, and a cow. With her companions she starts learning to take care of them and herself, all the while writing down an account of what she has done, which we the audience are hearing as a narrative voiceover while the scenes play out on the screen.

This movie is absolutely gorgeous. The cinematography team has captured the beauty of the Alps so perfectly that I want to watch this movie again just to stare at the pictures. And Martina Gedeck as the woman trapped within the wall portrays the part quite excellently. Given that her character is alone, even though we are constantly hearing her voice in narration, the woman on screen rarely speaks, and so all of her emotions need to come out in her body language and facial expressions, and it does.

The only caution or caveat I might give to people thinking of checking out The Wall is that the film is very bleak. It is a woman, her dog, a cat and a cow, trapped alone in the Alps trying to survive. If you are looking for an action packed thrill ride, this isn't it. But if you are looking for a beatifully shot character study of survival and lonliness, then this is exactly what you want.

Review by Jason Pace
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