Set in the middle of the Iraqi desert in 2007, after the “Mission Accomplished” banner was hung and the war was “Officially” over, Doug Liman’s The Wall belongs to a small subset of real-time thrillers, like Phone Booth and Buried, w the hero is pinned down in a single location for the entire film.
Through the premise of a U.S. spotter trapped by an Iraqi sniper, trying to improvise a third option beyond bleeding out and instant death, The Wall lands on a powerful metaphor for the Iraq War itself, particularly at that point in time.
The film opens with Army Ranger staff sergeant Shane Matthews and his spotter, Allan “Ize” Issac nearly a full day into scoping out a grisly scene.
At the end of an oil pipeline extending in the desert, six construction workers and two security man are all dead, nearly all from gunshot wounds to the head. Matthews and Ize train their focus on an edifice of crumbling brick – the wall of the title – but can see no signs of movement.
In an effort to call for assistance from his broken radio, Ize lands on a local frequency, w the Iraqi sniper taunts and manipulates him from an unknown location.
The Wall is admirably uncompromising in refusing to grant Ize more leverage than he has in a spot w Juba holds all the power.
Not only can Ize not MacGyver his way out of trouble, t’s every indication that Juba is the smarter and more capable of the two men, like some threat from the ether.