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4.2 out of 5 stars41
4.2 out of 5 stars
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 30 November 2013
Original title was `Die Wand' and is based on the book by Marlen Haushoffer. The plot is pretty simple in that three people go to a hunting lodge up in the mountains of Austria. Frau is left when her companions go to the village for provisions; she falls asleep and in the morning realise they have not returned. After a while she sets out to find them only to discover she has been surrounded by an impenetrable yet invisible wall.

Once the shock has worn off she has to take stock and all she really has in the loyal dog Luchs ( named as Lynx on IMDB!). She is telling her story through the words she has written in her journal and as she slowly runs out of paper we are brought closer to the present day. What follows in a haunting, mesmerising and totally enthralling film. Though the dialogue is minimal, as you would expect having no one to talk to, the narrative is just so compelling it carries the story. The acting by Martina Gedeck (`The Lives of others') is amazing, the animals were pretty impressive too, especially Lynx. There are some scenes of apparent animal cruelty so please be advised as I know that can be upsetting.

This though is simply beautiful, a story pared to the bone yet done so leaving only what is essential and it is a visual feast. All sci - fi has to have an element of the existential and this is all about the basic drive that keeps us going, even when it all seems futile. In German with good subs, directed by Julian Polsler who seems to have done most of his work for TV, I think that with this unexpectedly brilliant piece of cinema he can say he is more than ready to bring something unique and special to the `big' screen.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 August 2014
This film is a unique and absorbing exploration of the human condition in an imagined post-apocalyptic rural environment.

The film is based on a 1960s novel by the Austrian writer Marlen Haushofer and is set in a beautiful Alpine valley. The female protagonist is somehow surrounded and trapped by an invisible `wall' and we observe her struggles with solitude, loneliness and despair resulting eventually in a gradual acceptance of her situation. We are uncertain of what exactly her situation is, but early in the film when two elderly neighbours are shown frozen in time we can presume that a cataclysmic event has occurred and that she may be the only living human survivor on earth. However, nature appears to be functioning as normal and she has to quickly adapt her way of life in order to survive. She feels a responsibility to the animals that live with her but a touching dependency is slowly formed, especially with Lynx the dog. There is an unexpected event near the end of the film which leads us to ponder whether the invisible wall has served to imprison the protagonist or has in actuality protected her.

The cinematography is stunning and the music stark, haunting, sorrowful and evocative. However, the slow and contemplative nature of the film may not be to everyone's taste. There is no real narrative and no answers are provided, merely questions as to the purpose of human existence on the planet.
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on 14 May 2014
The film is superb, I was enthralled. I was lured by the film appearing in various lists of post-apocalypse/survival films. And knowing nothing of it, or the book I gave it a go and found a buried treasure! Though it is very different from most survival films ('The Day' being closest in mood') there is very little action. There is minimal storyline, no character history or introduction and no explanation of what is actually happening, from the start there is no link to the world outside the wall and the mood and the claustrophobic feel this causes is profoundly and enjoyably unsettling.
It is described as 'a female Robinson Crusoe' which is understandable, though 'The Wall' is more concerned with psychology than Robinson Crusoe was and it is essentially a stark, dark, bleak, beautiful, character study.
It may be contentious to describe it as being 'very German', if I did I would say that, in my defense I enjoyed the bleak style of 'Das Experiment' and 'Christiane F' too! For me it is a compliment.
All this may make it sound like an unappealing film, but it's the mood and mystery that makes it all so appealing.
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on 16 November 2014
Gripping and taunt in places, very moving in others, (I don't like dogs but there was real affection between her and the hound and you really did feel they totally depended on each other). The acting was first rate. The way the film jumped in time at times had me confused for a bit...what had I missed. No nothing, that was just the way it went.

But at one part did it fall apart for me and I never really got over that. Don't read anymore if you don't want a spoiler.....

OK, so she finds another person there, sadly it doesn't work out, LOL. Now if that was you and I, wouldn't you instantly run to the wall and work your way around it? I mean he cannot have been living in that area all the time, he got in, he was another survivor, so you'd look for the entrance he used wouldn't you. I mean I'd spend me whole life looking for that, yet she doesn't, she doesn't spend one minute looking for his way in and her way out. ?????

So I begun to think, maybe the wall and the place doesn't exist, maybe she just went totally mad one night and this is her fantasy world, isolated, away from everyone but in reality she is in a mental home and we are just seeing her view of her fantasy world. Well as an idea it's as good as any I have heard. I just don't buy into the idea of a man turning up and she doesn't go looking for how he got in there.

Well worth watching, time well spent, but not the type of film you will watch again and again.
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on 2 November 2014
The wall is for the most part an intriguing and engrossing film, the ultimate answer for someone who feels they don't want other people's company perhaps? The girl is great, impressively self sufficient and believeable. What was a little lacking was her testing the boundaries of her trap; I'd be doing things like throwing mud at it to see if it could be marked, making hot air balloons to see how high it went - obviously it didn't cover the sky or there would have been no weather.

In the end what I didn't like was the lack of answers and a conclusion to it, it would have been nice to know why this happened and what was going on in the world beyond the wall.
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on 16 March 2014
This is a fine film, based on a fine book. It caused me reflect on the psychological and physical challenges of enforced solitude, in Martina Gedeck's situation this was inexplicably thrust upon her, limiting her choices to two - live or give up. Brilliant acting, space and pace perfectly judged.

Although I can experience solitude while there are humans around, it is a very different experience to be alone in a natural environment. I've always found this to be enriching and healing, but I've been able to decide how long to stay alone in 'nature' and free to come back into the social maelstrom at my whim. Gedeck is forced into her situation for an unknown period and uncertain future. The film poses key existential questions about our relationship with ourselves, other living things and our natural environment. Excellent.
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on 16 September 2014
A film of intensity, mystery & enigma. One which mixes complex ideas within a simple structure.
Shot in a stunning location it cleverly poses many questions... and then does n.t answer any.
A thought-provoking gem.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 9 February 2014
I came to this 2013 filmed version on the back of reading Marlen Haushofer's 1968 published book. Indeed, the republication of the book, and its reaching a new and wider audience, has come precisely because of this film. We appear to have a virtuous circle going on, for once, in the relationship between the single writer's vision and the collaborative vision of the film.

Normally wary of film adaptations of books which have strongly resonated, I might have passed Die Wand by, except for the fact that thoughtful reviews re-iterated the powerful sense evoked by the book, speaking of the patience, depth and meditative quietude and despair in the film. I'm so glad I trusted the sensibilities of the reviewers, because with this film, is something which deepens my earlier reading of the book - and the book itself is deepened by the dynamics of vision, sound and embodiment of the narrator in Martina Gedeck's deep performance. The film, directed by Julian Roman Polsler runs for 108 minutes, and can be watched with German or English narration, and is also subtitled. I chose to have Gedeck's voiceover, and English subtitles. A performance of this truth needs no other interpreter getting between actor and viewer, in my opinion.

The word which the film owns is `reverence' - not a sterile reverence for Haushofer's strange and disturbing book about the only woman left alive, in a lonely landscape, after some cataclysmic event has turned all life outside her Alpine valley to stone - but a reverence for the living world itself, for authenticity, and for, in Haushofer's words, love as the rational choice. Not the gushy gushy love of sentimentality, but a love and respect for the nature of matter, of the living and the dying of things, of the tangled, interconnecting web which human beingS alone have choices about - often taking the wrong paths of enmity and hatred.

Certainly this is not a film to satisfy if what is wanted is a `what happens next' as, like the book, itself, a journal written by the narrator over four months as she looks back over her two years since `the end', as she waits, implacably, for her own, time is looked forward to and back. There is no fast cutting, there is the slow pace of the breathing landscape, the camera and the actor observing the stillness. In this, it reminds me of the film Die große Stille [DVD]Into Great Silence, an unspoken filmic observance of life in a Carthusian Monastery.

The transformation of the city dwelling narrator, as Gedeck inhabits her (it is a performance of inhabitation and revelation rather than of demonstration) in her designer cream frock, full faced and jittery, to the shorn haired figure, like one of the Fates, staring into the inevitability of whatever new or old may befall, is haunting.

The spacious empty soundtrack, except for Gedeck's voiceover of occasional phrases from her journal, and the natural sounds, is perfectly deepened by the underlining, sparing use of a Bach partita, melancholy and haunting, perfectly balanced in its plenitude and its emptiness.

Forgive the purpling prose, this/these, (film and book, book and film) are fully what they are, to be experienced by their next reader/viewer, who will enter into their own relationship with both film and book
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on 5 August 2014
I loved this book. First saw the film as recommended by a friend. She had said How much it haunted her. I have to agree wholeheartedly. I watched the film twice then had to buy the book, which is a very faithful rendition.
many reviewers have described the basic premise of the plot. It is the psychological effect on the protagonists life, and her relationship with her animals that is key to the story. I was most fascinated by her view that if a man had been around her life would have been so different behind the wall, that because he was stronger, she would have been confined to domesticity. And when a man finally emerges, he is still the destroyer of worlds.
The book, the film, both, either. Wonderful.
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on 5 February 2016
A meditation on solitude but more than that. What makes us human? Is it the company of others? The drive to survive? Or is it coming to terms with ourselves? There are no easy, pat answers or happy endings here. The difference between this movie and all the rest of the survive alone stories we've seen is the sharing of the inner self and the questions asked, answered and left unanswered and thus for us to ponder. Fear, resentment, pragmatic acceptance, embracing strength, regret, grief, even moments of quiet joy are all expressed with minimalistic grace. And there is no ending, just a going on and on because that's what we do, isn't it?
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