Pink Floyd’s The Wall is one of the most brilliant pieces of musical work anyone has ever laid to film. The album is simply phenomenal, a majority of which was written by Roger Waters, and the film, written by Waters as well, blends the music of the album with striking visuals and animation to assault your senses in a way that very few films have.
Pink Floyd’s The Wall is one of my all time favorite films. Having seen it when I was just over ten years old initially, I have watched this film numerous times. This film had a major influence on me growing up, and my subsequent penchant for rock n roll music, which eventually translated to heavy metal. The band Pink Floyd still holds a special place in my heart, with The Wall being my second Floyd album ever (Wish You Were Here is my all time fave).
Told through flashbacks and animation, the story of Pink Floyd’s The Wall deals with a rock star named Pink (Bob Geldof) who is having a mental breakdown, which is explained through the creation of a ‘wall’ which is built up to protect him from the horrors of the world. The film flashes back to his father’s death in World War II and his subsequent issues over not having a father, his over bearing and over protective mother, his marriage and drug use, and his wife’s affair while he is on tour. When all of these things are combined, Pink closes himself off from the world and isolates himself in a hotel room, unable to emotionally deal with real life. The film is a loose autobiography of writer Roger Waters.
Released in 1982 and directed by Alan Parker (Fame, Evita), with animation by Gerald Scarfe, the film is visually striking. While it is not for the weak of heart, there really is nothing here that wouldn’t be in a PG-13 film nowadays.
This film does go into some strange territory, though. As the majority of the film is actually taking place in Pink’s mind while he is sequestered in his hotel room, near the end of the film his tour manager finds him and they shoot him up with some sort of drug. He then snaps out of his lethargy (all to the strains of Comfortably Numb). All of the sudden, the show they are putting on becomes a neo-nazi type of concert. I don’t know how else to explain it. It gets a little strange and I have never been able to quite figure out where this fits into the film. I am not sure if this was taking place in his mind, or if he was actually putting on a neo-nazi show. The film then transitions into a animated trial. Make no mistake, this is a strange film.
The music in the film is as striking as the visuals. Pink Floyd’s The Wall was released a couple years prior to the film, and the film cuts out a couple songs off the album and adds a couple new ones written specifically for the film. The album was a stunning work of genius and therapeutic insight into the life of Roger Waters. When you take that haunting album and visualize it, you have something special.
The film is somewhat dated now. It is also a very British film, but it is still as enjoyable today as it was when I initially saw it. With the amazing album as the backdrop to this visual tour de force, it is simply a stunning film. Just be prepared for the film to veer wildly into some strange territory, not the least of which are the animated segments.
Note The DVD version that I watched was the 25th Anniversary Edition. While I had thoroughly intended to look into some of the special features for this review, I found that the menu’s were incredibly difficult to navigate through. This is one of the most complex menus I have ever seen. After a couple of minutes of not finding what I was looking for, I gave up. If I have the time to dig into them again, I will update this review.
**** out of ****