- Sophie Willard
- 9 December 2019
Tatiana Maslany is typically stunning in Tom Cullen's confident debut
In its opening shot, Pink Wall's focus is clear. Seated in a country pub, North American couple Jenna (Tatiana Maslany) and Leon (Jay Duplass) are tightly framed, accompanied by family members who remain out of shot. The camera never wavers during their conversation, even when Jenna yells magnificently at her brother for using the word 'cuck'.
Shot in just nine days in writer-director Tom Cullen's native Wales, it's an intimate production, charting the couple's six-year relationship non-chronologically across six sequences.
Undoubtedly, the performances are the strongest element here. Maslany and Duplass are afforded plenty of opportunities to draw from their improv backgrounds, their naturalistic dialogue rarely outstaying its welcome. One unnervingly realistic dinner party scene observes the ebbs and flows of conversation, and the awkward arguments and silences that accompany discussions of relationships and life.
Where the film feels stilted is in its pat comments on gender politics, which aren't as revolutionary as implied. While their roles embrace cliche, the two leads coax out nuance, with Duplass just managing to earn sympathy, and Maslany – chameleonic in TV's Orphan Black – continuing to illustrate the stunning breadth of her emotional range.
It's a confident debut from Cullen, known as an actor for his roles in Weekend and Downton Abbey. Thematically, there's some similarity with 'The Entire History of You', the Black Mirror episode in which he appeared. Perhaps aware that he has nothing particularly original to say with the story, Cullen instead plays with form, the non-linear sequence of events – conveyed through differing aspect ratios – giving the impression of memories being sifted through and re-remembered, tinged with hindsight and nostalgia. It's no accident that the couple's first encounter, a night suffused with magic and a sense of being carefree, is repeatedly revisited.
Selected release from Fri 13 Dec.