Doug Liman (USA, 1965)
debuted with Getting In (1994) and
6.9 Go (1999)
After the mediocre
The Bourne Identity (2002),
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005),
Jumper (2008), he directed
Fair Game (2010)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
American Made (2017)
The Wall (2017), his best film, is a psychological war movie, a cross
between Hitchcock and Coppola's Apocalypse Now.
The invisible sniper is almost a supernatural force, an invincible sci-fi monster.
The story takes place in 2007, four years after the USA invaded Iraq, at a time
when in theory the war is over and reconstruction has started.
Two soldiers, camouflaged in the scarce vegetation, are watching over a stretch of desert where a number of US personnel have been killed: contractors who were
repairing a pipeline and their security escorts.
Isaac is patiently scanning the landscape, while Shane is getting impatient:
they have been there for 20 hours. Shane convinces himself that there is no danger and decides to venture down. The moment he reaches the scene of the killings
he gets shot by an invisible sniper. Isaac rushes to help him but the sniper
shoots three times, wounding him. Isaac makes it behind a ruined wall that protects him from the sniper. Isaac is in a desperate situation and can't help Shane who is agonizing, who eventually stops moving and talking, presumed dead.
Isaac's radio is damaged but Isaac hears a superior on the walkie talkie and
responds. The superior asks him to reveal his position and Isaac realizes that
it's the sniper impersonating a US captain. The sniper has been trained by the USA and now spends his time killing US citizens, whether civilians or soldiers.
Isaac realizes that this is the famed "Juba", who not only uses US guns but also
has a US walkie talkie tuned on the right frequency.
The sniper engages Isaac in a conversation, extracting as much information from Isaac as possible, pretending to be just curious.
The sniper states that he didn't miss: he shot Isaac in the knee to cause an unstoppable hemorrage, shot his water bottle and shot the antenna of his radio.
The sniper keeps talking to Isaac and makes him talk, like a psychoanalyst.
The sniper overheard Isaac talking to Shane about a soldier named Dean and now is curious to learn more about Dean. He insists until Isaac reveals that Dean was from his hometown and they were good friends.
Isaac insists that the war is over and the sniper is killing the very people who are trying to reconstruct Iraq's economy, but the sniper doesn't buy it, and keeps asking why Isaac is still in Iraq.
Isaac uses his brain to calculate where the sniper is hiding and concludes that he must be hiding in a heap of garbage.
Taking advantage of a sandstorm, Isaac crawls out and grabs the radio and the backpack of a dead man, where he finds water and food. The radio, however, has been damaged by the sniper.
The sniper continues his psychological torture, forcing Isaac to reveal more details about his life.
Suddenly, Isaac realizes that Shane is alive and is regaining consciousness.
Now Isaac is eager to talk to the sniper on the walkie talkie because he needs
to distract him while Shane slowly reaches for his gun. When the walkie talkie is off, Isaac can shout to Shane without being heard by the sniper who is too far.
Shane reaches for the gun, and following Isaac's instructions, shoots at the
distant pile of rubble. The sniper shoots back and kills Shane.
Isaac breaks down and confesses in tears that he accidentally killed his best friend Dean and then lied about the accident to everybody.
Isaac has a new idea: he uses the two broken radios to make one working radio.
He is now able to hear conversations going on, and hears someone pretending to be him calling for help. He realizes that the sniper is impersonating him and setting a trap for the helicopters who will come to look for him.
Isaac realizes how they all got in the same trap: the sniper impersonated the contractors to get the security guards and the security guards to get Shane and him and now he is using the information gathered from Isaac to get the helicopters.
The sniper now doesn't talk to him anymore: obviously, the sniper got what he wanted (information) and is now waiting for a bigger prey.
When he hears the helicopters approaching, Isaac decides to act: he manages to grab Shane's powerful weapon and shoots at the pile of rubble. He then stands up, basically luring the sniper to shoot so that the helicopters will realize where the sniper is. But the sniper doesn't shoot back.
We don't know whether the sniper is alive or dead.
The helicopters pick up Isaac and take off. Then the sniper strikes: he shoots the soldiers one by one and the helicopters crash, presumably killing everybody.
We then hear someone impersonating the helicopters calling for help: the sniper
keeps repeating his trick. Another rescue mission will soon be on the way and the sniper will be ready for them.
Chaos Walking (2021)
Locked Down (2021)