Truth and Movies

Pink Wall

Review by Max Copeman

Directed by

Tom Cullen

Starring

Jay Duplass Sarah Ovens Tatiana Maslany

Anticipation.

Cullen’s pivot to writer/director with a seemingly straightforward relationship drama doesn’t exactly entice.

Enjoyment.

Whether smitten or at each other’s throats, Maslany and Duplass make for an absorbing pairing.

In Retrospect.

A promising debut from Cullen with a star turn from Maslany.

Actor-turned-director Tom Cullen’s feature debut episodically pieces together a relationship falling apart.

When reflecting on past relationships, it’s the little things that often stick in the memory. This is certainly true of Tom Cullen’s directorial debut Pink Wall, which zeroes in on the finer points of a couple’s time together. Intimate and bracingly honest, the film is split into six non-linear segments, tracing the romance between twentysomethings Leon (Jay Duplass) and Jenna (Tatiana Maslany) across six fractious years.

Writer/director Cullen, who you might recognise as one of the stars of Andrew Haigh’s romantic drama Weekend, opens four years into the relationship as a meal turns from light-hearted jokes to pointed jibes. Cullen combines softly lit intimacy with sharply worded shouting matches in vignettes that switch between aspect ratios, with ‘Year 1’ presented in a home video-style 4:3 format.

Thanks to the central pairing, intrigue is just about sustained for the 81-minute runtime. In particular, Maslany (Cullen’s real-life partner) brings a feistiness to Jenna, the more ambitious half of the couple. Duplass, meanwhile, is a good fit as a shaggy slacker and photographer’s assistant whose worldview doesn’t extend beyond Jenna. With strong chemistry, many of their exchanges appear improvised as they make the couple seem believable, as is crucial for any relationship drama.

With neither party shown to be in the right, the raw lovers’ tiffs make for a film more about the complexities of relationships than love itself. At a frosty dinner party Jenna rejects the label of “a honeymoon phase,” questioning the idea of monogamy and the cost of undivided devotion. Similar probing of the expectation to have children emerges, although this is lost amid the bickering. Regardless, this is an honest close-up of a failing relationship with a universal ring to it.

Published 11 Dec 2019

Tags: Tom Cullen

Anticipation.

Cullen’s pivot to writer/director with a seemingly straightforward relationship drama doesn’t exactly entice.

Enjoyment.

Whether smitten or at each other’s throats, Maslany and Duplass make for an absorbing pairing.

In Retrospect.

A promising debut from Cullen with a star turn from Maslany.

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