A woman (Martina Gedeck) travels to a hunting lodge with her cousin Luise (Ulrike Beimpold) and her cousin’s husband Hugo (Karlheinz Hackl). They plan to spend a nice weekend there. But on the first evening, Luise and Hugo head into town. When they aren’t back the next day, the woman heads out to see where they have gotten to. But before she gets into town, she hits an invisible wall that seems to surround her. Seeing no life on the other side of the wall, she believes that it is the result of some chemical warfare and starts to wait for the victors to find her. As time passes and nobody shows up, she begins to make a life for herself, all alone at the cabin apart from a dog, a cat and a cow.
Die Wand is an excellent adaptation of the book – and it’s no easy book to make a movie of. Though, as usual with book adaptations, there were a few difficulties that kept it from being perfect, I thought it was really a very good film.
The book was written in a way that I could perfectly picture the surroundings and the hut. And it’s of course unlikely that the best location scout would hit exactly the landscape I, personally, imagined, if it exists at all. But still, I have to admit a little sense of irritation anyway when it didn’t look like it did in my head. But it was beautifully filmed and I think that the Austrian Tourism Agency could pretty much just use it as one giant ad – apart from the mysterious wall, maybe.
As I said, Pölsler did a really good job with the adaptation. There were a couple of inconsistencies, mostly because he skipped the woman’s sickness (so it doesn’t make sense why she’d lose a few days, for example), but most people probably wouldn’t notice if they haven’t read the book just a little before. In any case, I was very impressed by the way he shortened the story and whittled it down to fit it into a film (though he did lose pretty much all the little moments where the woman comments on life as a woman that made me go, “yes! EXACTLY!” from the book. Maybe because he wasn’t as touched by them, being a man). I also appreciated that the woman tried a little harder in the beginning to get out from behind the wall than in the book.
The movie has a lot of voice-over, which I’m not a huge fan of. In this case I see the need for it, but I think that there could have been less – the images could have stood on their own a little more. But Martina Gedeck does a good job with it. She was generally absolutley wonderful in the role. Expressive, touching and just perfectly cast, she has no problem carrying the film on her own.
As with the book, it is surprising but definitely true that the film doesn’t get boring, apart from a couple of lenghts. They get tension from some elements that are outright from horror movies, which I enjoyed. And to top it all off, I completely fell in love with the dog.