The Eye and the Wall Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
Released by One Eyed Films
Directed by Javier Del Cid
Written by Manuel Amaya and Javier Del Cid
2021, 78 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Juan Pablo Olyslager as German
Álvaro Sagone as Ulises
Cecilia Porras as Alba
Yolanda Coronado as Lucre
After falling to a totalitarian government, the city of Gabhán is shut off from the rest of the world by a giant wall and brutal, militaristic police force. Trapped inside, the people live in poverty – condemned to exist in scarcity, ill health and constant danger. Alba (Cecilia Porras) is a member of an underground network that seeks to distribute food, medicine and water to the neediest. Desperate to get her goddaughter out of dodge, Lucre (Yolanda Coronado) tries in vain to convince Alba to mount an escape. And so a lie is manufactured – one that will convince Alba to embark on the perilous journey across the border and out of Gabhán.
Set in a fictional Latin American country (and city) in the year 2030, Javier Del Cid’s dystopian nightmare emerges in a world of all-too real humanitarian crises. When I was first sent the screener for this film (it took me a while to watch it, alright) events in Ukraine hadn’t happened yet, but tensions were on the boil, moving to the inevitable. Billed as a sci-fi thriller and already informed by events in Palestine, Syria and Central America, The Eye and the Wall doesn’t feel very sci or fi right now.
A stark document of life beneath authoritarian regime, the film isn’t so much a warning letter (after all, things are already like this for so many people) as a cry of rage and grief. Its imagery – reminiscent of the grey, dour Children of Men or Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium – will be recognisable to anyone who can bear to pay attention to the news today. Del Cid’s background as a visual artist is evident in the film’s visuals – at once recognisable but also futuristic.
At the same time, the mood isn’t too bleak as to be too overpowering. What narrative there is sees Alba making a break for freedom, allowing Del Cid to flesh out the world and inject a handful of understated action sequences into the mix. The film’s stated goal was to be one of the first science fiction films produced in the Central American region. This ambition is fully realised, although its future shocks may hit too close to home for some.
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