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271 Ratings

The Great Wall

Directed by Tadhg O'Sullivan
Ireland, 2015
  • German
  • English


The Great Wall moves across fortified landscapes, pausing with those whose lives are framed by borders. Moving inward toward the seat of power, the film holds the European project up to a dazzling cinematic light, refracted through Kafka’s mysterious text; ultimately questioning the nature of power.

The Great Wall Directed by Tadhg O'Sullivan

What are people saying?

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film The Great Wall

    An intriguing political reading of Kafka's novel, resulting from the somewhat open relation between words and visuals as well as the lurking underscoring and the musical citations.

  • DrFirestone's rating of the film The Great Wall

    Interesting and fresh take on borders, walls, immigration, architecture and psychology. It ventures surprisingly deep into our very nature - where the idea and need for walls and exclusion really comes from... The cinematography conveys the oppressive feel of architecture, you can almost feel how it crushes you into the ground, just like "authority" does. Using Kafka as a source is thoughtful and works rather well.

  • dionysus67's rating of the film The Great Wall

    An exceptionally mature, in cinematographic terms, elevation of the idea of border and boundary to semantic and political heights in a Europe caught amidst its own contradictions. The extremely elegant pans travel from London and Athens to the architectural sites of a disenchanted continent, where surveillance and borders 'integrate' by 'excluding'. A Europe in limbo like the African refugee on a barbed wire fence...

  • Dimitris's rating of the film The Great Wall

    Good intentions; elitist approach. O'Sullivan's style is cold and too calculated and & images too sterile and academic. Considering how many lives are destroyed and ended everyday by the walls of the film, the director remains curiously unengaged, bordering on class tourism. No level of research & filmmaking skills can help you understand and portray this topic if you are living firmly on the wrong side of the wall.

  • fearraigh's rating of the film The Great Wall

    Kafka's short story is not so much the animating spirit of O'Sullivan's meditative essay as a suggestive guide. The film is superlatively edited and shot and, as in the director's previous work, sound is a vital component of the ensemble. For all its formal elegance and wit, however, this is a quietly angry piece of work, and a reminder that Europe has little reason to feel smug when regarding Trump's America.

  • Conor M's rating of the film The Great Wall

    Thoughtful and compelling; strong concept. Many of the reviewers miss the point that the voiceover is a cleverly (and very faithfully) edited reading of Kafka’s prescient short story The Great Wall of China. The chosen locations, criss-crossing Europe, are arresting, and though some of the footage comes across a bit as random, some of it is stunning (Greek riot police particularly).

  • ejonline's rating of the film The Great Wall

    Rather than an analysis of borders, walls and social policy, this film draws on Kafka to make broader critiques of the human psyche. The cinematography is mesmerizing and I started to feel concrete-and-steel sick with the weight of countless edifices pressing down on me. The drone music added to the impact without overwhelming it. Will take a while to process I think.

  • saltwater's rating of the film The Great Wall

    I love the idea here, but the execution falls flat in my opinion. There are too many slow panning shots that aren't interesting, which bothered me. That said, there are some beautiful moments, especially the opening sequence and spoken word passages.