SHORT TAKES

New Zealand Listener - - BOOKS&CULTURE -

THE WALL di­rected by Doug Li­man

There’s some­thing ad­mirable in the sheer sparse­ness of Doug Li­man’s war thriller.

It is set not on the Mex­i­can bor­der but on some dusty plain in Iraq, circa 2007. Two US sol­diers (Aaron Tay­lor-John­son and John Cena) are pinned down by an un­seen ghost-like sniper with a fond­ness for mind games and quot­ing Edgar Al­lan Poe. It’s a bat­tle of for­ti­tude, not arms, as dust, heat and fes­ter­ing wounds put ever-in­creas­ing pres­sure on the pair. Short, sharp and well made, The Wall man­ages to achieve max­i­mum ten­sion with­out ever leav­ing the fox­hole. James Robins IN CIN­E­MAS NOW

IN BE­TWEEN di­rected by Maysa­loun Hamoud

A girl-power chick flick for grown-ups, this en­gag­ing if oc­ca­sion­ally dis­or­gan­ised Is­raeli-French co-pro­duc­tion de­fies genre clichés as it dips into the lives of three Arab-Is­raeli women in Tel Aviv. Along the way, it pro­vides an en­gross­ing por­trait of daily life and the chang­ing so­cial land­scape (though, in­ter­est­ingly, it is de­void of any ref­er­ence to eth­nic and re­li­gious ten­sions). Layla, a chic lawyer, and her bestie flat­mate, Salma, a hospo worker and DJ, are party girls whose strictly sec­u­lar lives look to be up­ended when a hi­jab-wear­ing con­sci­en­tious coun­try cousin comes to stay. But the film’s dra­matic ten­sions de­rive from the men­folk whose pre­ten­sions to piety or lib­er­al­ism are pa­per-thin. Peter Calder IN CIN­E­MAS NOW

The Wall: a bat­tle of for­ti­tude.

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