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Film / The Wall (2017)

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The Wall is a 2017 American war thriller directed by Doug Liman.

Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena play two American soldiers patrolling the deserts of Iraq who find themselves in a deadly game of cat and mouse against a sniper, with only an old and crumbling wall as protection.

View the trailer here.

This film provides examples of:

  • Awesomeness by Analysis:
    • This is how Ize manages to locate Juba’s hideout. He takes in consideration several factors like the delay between the bullet hitting the ground and the gunshot sound, the angle in which the bullet that hit him entered his leg and, most importantly, the background noise in Juba’s radio call.
    • He also keeps track of how many shots have been fired by the sniper in an effort to understand the kind of gun he has.
  • Boom, Headshot!: All of the contractors and PMCs were offed this way. Okay, fine, so one without a head shot.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The sniper team is this to a private security detail that called in a hostile sniper, the sniper already took them all out. Turns out that this is the modus operandi of the Iraqi sniper. Start shooting, wait for them to call in more targets and finish them off.
  • Cold Sniper: The sniper is an incredible shot, and though his voice has some emotion, it's mostly him taunting the two about how there's no hope for them and their deaths are inevitable. He might be a pro.
  • Cool Shades: Being snipers in the middle of a desert, Ize and Shane both wear some, although they lose them early on and actually have more impressive moments without them.
  • Downer Ending: The two onscreen characters die and the sniper wins. And he decides to set up another trap.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Iraqi sniper tries to sound somewhat jovial and keeps insisting how he just wants to talk to Ize, asking about his life, and get to know him, even as he threatens to shoot off Matthews' face if Ize doesn't talk to him.
  • Genre Savvy: Ize doesn't immediately trust a voice in the radio asking him a lot of information, keeping an ear out for any inconsistencies and challenging the man for proof of his identity. Sure enough, it was the sniper.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Ize is the spotter of the soldiers, but he's been in the Middle East for a long time, under multiple snipers. He is the one to notice all of the headshots, speculate on the presence of a sniper, and caution Shane about being too reckless after they first arrive. In contrast, Shane is too impatient to wait for ideal conditions to go up close, dismissive of the idea of a sniper, and stands up at a time when Ize tells him to stay down.
  • I Meant to Do That: The Iraqi sniper claims he was aiming for specific equipment items when targeting Isaac. Though he might be a pro and actually did aim for them.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The sniper constantly mocks the two over the radio, like when their supply of water runs out.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: A wounded Shane yells for Ize to leave him after he's wounded and Ize is racing to help him rather than go for cover.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The Iraqi sniper is a really good shot. Taking out some dozen men with headshots and sniping down helicopters.
  • Just Toying with Them: The sniper taunts the two over the radio that he'll enjoy slowly whittling them down before killing them, and deliberately lands several painful but not immediately lethal shots.
  • Mentor Archetype: Ize claims this of Captain Albright, who will come if they don't make it back, and trained him and Shane.
  • My Greatest Failure: Ize claims that his friend Dean was killed by a sniper who Ize had missed. Later, he tearfully states that This was a lie and he accidentally shot Dean and has been lying about it to everyone ever since.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Not afraid of the wall, but what might be behind it.
  • Not Quite Dead: Shane is believed to have died from his wound relatively early in the film, but was only passed out, and wakes up near the final act. He is shot again and killed later, although the rescuers do bother putting him on the helicopter too.
  • Oh, Crap!: One of the soldiers attempts to radio for help, only for the sniper's voice to answer instead of his commanding officer.
  • Recycled In Space: Phone Booth in the Iraqi desert!
  • The Remnant: Ize accuses the sniper of being this, stating that the war is effectively over, and the people he's killing are just trying to rebuild the regions economy. The sniper doesn't take that very well.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Ize is gradually revealed to be one, since even before the film-long Sniper Duel.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Ize gets a few lines of this, with one that stands out in particular.
    Tell me you're my enemy, fine, I'll respect that. We kill, We kill. But say you're my friend... and shoot me in the back? The only angle I see is a fuckin' snake.
  • Sniper Duel: The two struggle with their limited resources to figure out where the sniper is so they can fight back. For most of the film, Ize is avoiding the sniper but not shooting back, but eventually Shane recovers enough to get at his gun and fire several shots at the sniper, although he misses and is hit in the shoulder and incapacitated by the man's next shot. and afterwards Ize only takes one shot (he only has one) when he finally takes up the rifle).
  • Someone to Remember Him By: Ize says that his father has held Dean's baby son, something Dean himself never got to do.
  • To the Pain: The sniper says by the time he's through with them, their own families won't recognize them.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Shane ironically seems to get smarter and more competent after being shot. It doesn't save him or Ize though.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Ize carries around a cracked scrape that belonged to Dean, the first man he served as a spotter for, who lived near his hometown.
  • Uncertain Doom: Ize and the rescuers do have a slight bit of ambiguity towards their fate bracing for impact as the helicopters crash, with the final shot showing the helicopters crashed -with one of them turned over- but intact, and not having exploded.
  • Wicked Cultured: The sniper reciting the works of Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe, while trying to intimidate Ize, and claims to have been a teacher.
  • You Should Have Died Instead: Ize admits that fear of experiencing this from Dean's family is part of why he re-enlisted.