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The Wall (2012)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 1,140

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on Marlen Haushofer's eponymous feminist classic novel, THE WALL is a highly original exploration of the experience of solitude and survival set in a spectacularly beautiful Austrian mountain landscape. Martina Gedeck, the brilliant interpreter of the Oscar-winning The Lives Of Others, brings a rare and vivid intensity to her role as the unnamed lead character in this contemporary female Robinson Crusoe tale. --(c) Music Box Films



Marlen Haushofer, Julian Pölsler

Oct 21, 2013


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All Critics (39) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (10)

Bleak and beautiful, harrowing yet inspiring, "The Wall" ("Die Wand") is a stunning tale of isolation and survival in a wild and silent world.

September 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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An elegant, slow-burning exercise in narrative minimalism.

September 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
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Pölsler's film is quietly deliberate without ever feeling slow, thanks to a few handy assets at his disposal.

August 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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It's a shudder-inducing original.

August 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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This mesmerising, austere and contemplative film provides a rarefied yet utterly immersive viewing experience.

July 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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A remarkably involving film, especially given its brave, self-imposed limitations.

June 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The widescreen images of the Austrian landscape and the lovingly lit cabin interiors are unfailingly gorgeous, but Gedeck's the key asset: her fine, expressive features do almost as daunting a job as the words, words, words we hear.

April 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Newcity

A heart-affecting tale of survival with a fierce and tender performance by Martina Gedeck.

December 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

The Wall is nothing if not a mystery. Surely the premise would propel such a story into the realm of sci-fi and fantasy, but Pölsler and Gedeck never approach the story in this way, nor do they give us any easy answers to what has really happened and why.

November 5, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters

Has any movie ever had so much gab on the soundtrack? Every confession, every philosophical tidbit of the movie's tormented female protagonist.

September 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Arts Fuse
Arts Fuse

If you surrender to the style and premise, it's a rich and immensely rewarding film that begs repeat viewing.

July 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

The sheer quantity of voiceover - or, more likely, subtitles - acts as a barrier to deep psychological immersion.

July 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Starts with an interesting concept but goes nowhere with it, giving the viewer too little with which to relate or comprehend and asking them to mistake the clunky narrative as "deep."

July 5, 2013 Full Review Source:

The Wall is a riveting piece of cinema, and given it bears such a simplistic, obscure narrative, Pölsler does a fine job holding down your attention throughout.

July 5, 2013 Full Review Source: HeyUGuys

A beautifully photographed and elegantly handled existential drama.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

A lover and a fighter. This will remind you to hold everything dear.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

An elegant, stunningly photographed reflection on the human condition that is as odd as it is entrancing.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Julian Roman Pölsler's bewitching debut manages to be at once a creepy sci-fi parable, a feminist Robinson Crusoe and a clear-eyed ode to the wonders of nature experienced in solitude. Walden pond with added wall.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Call it a landlocked variant on Robinson Crusoe, but it's a hypnotic one, with a sense of mystery and interior life that are all its own.

July 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

The story is slow-paced and eventless but the cinematography makes the most of the landscape, while voiceover diary readings give us access to her thoughts.

July 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Bold and beautiful, this is a mystery worth puzzling over.

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for The Wall

An interesting premise, "The Wall" sees a woman trapped in the wilderness behind an invisible barrier, left to fend for herself and face solitude, with only animals to accompany her and give her purpose. If you haven't read Marlen Haushofer's 1963 novel in which the film is based, you'll likely get an inkling of the same type of story in Stephen King's "Under The Dome" which puts a town under a mysterious dome barrier, blocking them from the outside world. The major difference in these works, besides the number of humans trapped, is the eventual mystery solving that takes place to explain the dome, as well as other odd occurrences happening. In "The Wall", however, the reasoning behind the barrier is never really even touched upon. Instead, we're delivered a character study of a woman played by Martina Gedeck as she writes down her memories from the start of the occurrence until her last piece of paper to write on. Slow and plodding, the film is deliberate in its pace, making time almost a character in the film, even going as far as to remind us of the seasons that are taking place. Many questions arise from the narrative, like why the woman never attempts to find all the borders or where the mysterious man in the film comes from or how all the animals survive. Regardless, director Julian Pölsler chooses his moments and sticks with them, providing both breathtaking visuals of the Austrian mountainside and a visceral performance from Martina Gedeck who acts as a one woman show and carries herself exquisitely. Setting a high concept science fiction device like the invisible wall into a very strong drama peaked my anticipation for the film, and despite "The Wall" not quite reaching the levels to which I had wished, it stills marks an amazing feat in foreign film-making and simply leaves plenty of room for improvement in the genre.
January 12, 2014

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Wand (DE)
  • The Wall (Die Wand) (UK)
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