The Unfulfilled Potential of The Wall
Julian Roman Polser’s 2013 film The Wall is frustrating. It has an interesting premise, a beautiful location and some very nice cinematography but it is all but ruined by an incessant and completely unnecessary narration. What could have been an evocative meditation on isolation was kept nailed down and narrow by over explanation.
The premise is simple, a woman finds herself isolated in the mountains, cut off from the rest of the world by an invisible wall. Its a situation pregnant with possibilities and ripe for metaphors and references, but our freedom to associate and explore the ideas in the film are hemmed in at every turn by the main character’s constant explanations. She states the obvious or provides accounts of her emotional state that cut short the audience’s ability to project our own feelings into the situation.
Here is an example of the narration. “At Times Now, when I walk alone in the wintery forest I talk to lynx (her dog) as I did before. I have no idea I’m doing it until something startles me and I fall silent. I turn my head and catch the gleam of a reddish brown coat, but the path is empty. Bare bushes and wet stones.” In all fairness she is reading from her diary but still this defies the most basic principles of filmmaking, don’t tell, show.
I wouldn’t write this unfavorable assessment if it wasn’t for the films potential. It is beautifully crafted and pretty well acted. Its not as though the director was not visual skilled. its only that the extraneous narration undermines what might have been a very interesting film.