An adaptation of the best-selling novel by the Austrian author Marlen Haushofer, the film stars Martina Gedeck who, in the course of a shoot that lasted over several seasons, gives a solo performance of enormous strength, both mental and physical. An invisible wall cuts off a woman alone in the Alps but for a dog, a cow, a cat and her determination to survive, even when the rest of the world has possibly perished.
Thought provoking and beautiful
- The Wall review by JT
(1) of (1) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 4
Contrary to the other reviewers we found The Wall to be engrossing.
Initially we thought another 'science fiction' story with admittedly beautiful surroundings but contemplating the film afterwards could see that the character's situation mirrored urban life and the confined nature we exist in
Feelings of being trapped and everyday struggles for survival consume many modern humans and not all have the benefit of canine company!
The film provoked many discussions between my partner and myself and has stayed in my mind for many days
Lovely animals, pretty landscapes, shame about the silly story...
- The Wall review by PV
(1) of (3) members found this review helpful.
You rated this film: 2
I quite like slow European films, but this movie is just too 'magic realist' for me. I just never believed in the story of some invisible wall; I was frustrated by all the unanswered questions too (where did the people she was with go? Who are...? etc)
I couldn't also help shouting 'pull yourself together!' at the woman - she never really seems to methodically plan an escape; she just rests her hands on the invisible wall (at which point she hears a Star Trek hummmmm).
Confusing and random flashbacks didn't help either.
It probably means more to Austrians and Germans, what with their love of mountains and forests.
The best thing about this movie is the animals, especially the dog, who deserves an award for his range of expressions (he has a bigger range than the actress playing the lead).
If you watch this, forget the silly and pointless story which gets nowhere, and just enjoy the animals and the scenery.
For a much more interesting surreal Euro-movie, watch The Bothersome Man from Norway (5 stars).
The idea has been done again and again and this version does it no better. I really can't agree with the comments on the case about the actress, but would agree with the review above which mentions the animals in the film, the real stars but can't save this film.
As a bit of an animal fanatic and an unashamed dramatist I could not help but be taken in by the beauty and spiritualism inherent in German feature the Wall in which a woman, known only as “frau” (played with an implicit intimacy and emotion by the wonderfully expressive Martina Gedeck – The Lives of Others) and her gorgeous dog Lynx become trapped behind an invisible wall whilst walking in the Austrian mountains.
Whilst some described the movie as languid I would have to disagree, personally I was quite moved by the magic that seemed to sparkle throughout the narrative, fear not however this is not some daft science fiction fantasy and the woodland and mountains in which our heroine is trapped are not filled with pixies and elves. Far from in, the forests are populated with animals; dears, birds, rabbits, creatures with whom the frau must learn to live alongside, whilst also relying on them explicitly for her survival.
Learning to hunt, farm and care for herself in an entirely new and alien fashion Gedeck’s character quickly learns to appreciate the delicate balance that lies in nature; her hand forced into killing animals for her own survival she is nonetheless haunted by the ghosts of the birds and deer she has slaughtered. Whilst her own wellbeing is constantly tested in this not entirely hospitable climate. Yet the beauty that surrounds her, both in the landscape and the movements of nature itself, are so beautiful that Gedeck (and the viewer by extension) can not help but feel moved by them and the intimate nature of her experience with them.
Set as a series of flashbacks which are narrated in English by Gedeck the film largely takes place in the isolated and encircled area of mountain with Gedeck and her canine companion as the only faces on screen; any attempts made by the pair to break through the invisible barrier that surrounds them are futile and one quickly becomes as despondent as the frau. It is only her experiences alongside her animal companions, Lynx and the wild animals living in the enclosure with her, that keep her spirits up – the narration even attributes their company to the frau’s decision not to end her own life.
Yes one could call the Wall slow, whilst I think of it as unhurried. I never found myself bored, not once did I notice the movie’s runtime, instead I felt entirely drawn in and wrapped up in the mind of Gedeck’s character, her desire to survive and the infinite sadness inherent in her feelings about her situation. The change in her is unavoidable and the face that looks out at us at the end of the film is one of hardened determination and acceptance, yet with the eyes of someone forever haunted by the life they have been forced to lead.