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A scene from The Wall.

David James/Amazon Studios

2.5 out of 4 stars

Title
The Wall
Written by
Dwain Worrell
Directed by
Doug Liman
Starring
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena
Classification
14A
Country
USA
Language
English

Even though it stars two up-and-coming Hollywood players and carries the imprimatur of blockbuster director Doug Liman (Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow), the new film The Wall could, with a few adjustments, simply be an off-Broadway play. Its set-up is simple enough: A U.S. sniper (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is caught behind the titular patch of rock and brick somewhere in Iraq, a rogue shooter hidden in the distance. His comrade (John Cena) is trapped just metres away and the pair's only chance of survival is teasing out their enemy's position through conversation over the radio. What follows is a sometimes tense, sometimes languid battle of wits that rests entirely on the not-so-steady shoulders of Dwain Worrell's script. Liman, at least, elevates the material every chance he gets, ensuring what could have been a bargain-basement dramatic exercise looks and moves like a big-budget thrill ride. (14A) Barry Hertz

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