Three men, two guns, one wall. These are the bare bones of Doug Liman’s newest film, The Wall. The film focuses on two American soldiers trapped by an Iraqi sniper. One soldier, Sergeant Allen Isaac played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, manages to seek shelter behind a crumbling wall with his wits, a rifle and a weak signalled radio as his only weapons.

The Wall will play this Saturday, July 15 at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival at the Chilmark Community Center.

Mr. Liman, a seasonal resident of Chilmark, known for directing Swingers and The Bourne Identity, was originally sent the script of The Wall to check out the writer.

“No one thought I would want to get involved in such a small project,” Mr. Liman told the Gazette by phone. He was in Montreal working on his next project. But something about the script captivated him.

“I thought it was so smart and so exciting and I was interested in doing a war movie from a soldier’s point of view, devoid of politics,” he said. Mr. Liman pointed to his 2010 film Fair Game, which focused on the politics and decisions to enter the Iraq war. “I was really interested in looking at the same war from the point of view of a solider fighting the war,” he said.

Mr. Liman turned to one of the only soldiers he knows, his neighbor in Chilmark, Zach Iscol. Mr. Liman had heard many of Mr. Iscol’s experiences through the time-honored tradition of Chilmark dinner parties.

“That’s kind of what you do in Chilmark, there’s not a lot to do in Chilmark besides talk to your neighbors,” he said. “We don’t have bars, we don’t have movie theatres, we have a dinner table.”

Mr. Iscol was an officer in the United States Marine Corps when he was sent to fight in Iraq in 2004.

“It was through those experiences that made me very interested, and the forthrightness of my neighbor, in what the typical experience of a solider was,” Mr. Liman said. “That, I thought, was mesmerizing, cinematic and terrifying. All the qualities that I look for when I’m making a movie.”

The film was shot in 14 days in the Mojave Desert in July, with just three actors and one set. Professional wrestler John Cena plays Staff Sergeant Shane Matthews, and had to balance shooting the movie with his WWE career.

“He’d be on our set, then fly that night to Tokyo and wrestle and come back two nights later,” said Mr. Liman. “I loved working with John Cena. I thought after working with Tom Cruise that I worked with the hardest working man in Hollywood, but John Cena really is the hardest working man.”

The limited cast and set challenged Mr. Liman as a director.

“One of the tricks we have in Hollywood is we change points of view,” he said. “You just cut to other characters and other things happening, because audiences have short attention spans.”

Not a possibility on The Wall.

“In the case of The Wall, the smaller cast and the more claustrophobic quality made the film more exciting,” Mr. Liman said. “When you focus on smaller details, then smaller things become more exciting.”

The Wall screens Saturday July 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Chilmark Community Center as a part of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. A discussion with director Doug Liman will follow.