Cinema Review: Pink Wall | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, September 21st, 2020  

Pink Wall

Studio: 1091
Directed by Tom Cullen

Nov 21, 2019 Web Exclusive
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Tom Cullen’s accomplished debut Pink Wall succinctly tells of love’s ever-changing presence in a turbulent six-year relationship.

From the first scene, we get a real sense of the wrought tension that can build up between two people over time. People irritate each other, feel betrayed by one another and are always trying to push each other back into what feels like the right place, however destined they are not to get there. “Love is about calling people out on their shit,” a statement in the opening scene that sets a precedent between couple Jenna (Tatiana Maslany) and Leon (Jay Duplass). Though delivered as words of wisdom, they are perhaps nearer to words of warning.

Pink Wall tells the story of Jenna and Leon’s fractious six-year relationship in a non-linear narrative. As it jumps from one year to another, neatly surmising stages of their relationship in individual scenes, we see the ups and downs inside and out. We’re not necessarily watching a relationship fall apart, more witnessing a juggling act of near spills and recoveries as they revolve around their love-stricken first night together.    

Cullen’s first time directing is certainly a confident step behind the camera. The hopping time frames, switches in aspect ratio, sumptuous lighting and general ease around his two characters are all very accomplished. His story of an American, millennial couple living in England is something near absent in Britishness. The episodic nature of the storytelling, the hot topic, woke bingo of some of the dialogue and argumentative American’s saying “ don’t get to say that,” would all be quite well suited to a Netflix miniseries.

Pink Wall is at its strongest when the couple are teetering on the edge of a break-up. It’s the constant watching of the penny nearly dropping that gives the film its buzz. A couple mostly incompatible, nearly reaching the epiphany that they are no good for each other, asking us to tell them what to do. Leon seemingly has no room for Tatiana’s strong will and career ambition. He holds her captive by stoking the flames of her desires but shackling her to his own contentment. This toxic trait is something masking as love without ever having to change. It’s this lack of change that ultimately frustrates Tatiana. Exasperated by his juvenility and tired of waiting for maturity to set it, she can only see Leon as a chapter (or six) in her life.

The final segment of the film, and perhaps its strongest allows for the whole film to feel sincerely realised and neatly concluded. Here Tom Cullen has made something that rings true, a collection of snapshots that don’t stand out amongst one’s life, but that’s just the point. Though Pink Wall may not be remarkable, there’s something to be said for its honesty and craft, in particular, Malsany’s studied and lived-in performance. You may feel like this is trodden ground but it’s rarely trodden so truthfully.


Author rating: 7/10

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