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Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
Genres:
Musical, Musical Drama, Psychological Drama, Rock Musical
Director:
Alan Parker Alan Parker
Starring:
Bob Geldof Bob Geldof
Christine Hargreaves Christine Hargreaves
James Laurenson James Laurenson
Eleanor David Eleanor David
Kevin McKeon Kevin McKeon

7.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: May 26, 2008
I've mentioned this a few times before on this site, but as a kid, I was a huge horror fanatic (my, how the times have changed). Every Friday night, I'd dig through the new releases and the classics section of my local video store, and one night, I stumbled across Pink Floyd: The Wall. Now, being a kid whose musical tastes were limited to what I heard my parents play on their stereo, I'd never heard of Pink Floyd and had no idea what I was in for when I decided to pick this film up as my weekly rental. I had no clue that it was a musical of sorts, I had no idea that it was based on the album The Wall, and in hindsight, I really don't know why this particular title was in the horror section in the first place; all I knew was that it had a cool cover and that the back of the box made it sound interesting. This was my first exposure to Pink Floyd, and it was also my first exposure to a film that wasn't exactly blunt about its message. It also quickly wound up as one of my favorite films.

The storyline for this one is very interpretive and requires that the viewer come up with his or her own conclusions about how all of the pieces fit together, but there are a few things that are made abundantly clear. We know that the film centers around rock-and-roll vocalist Pink (Bob Geldof), and we know that this man has some serious mental issues as a result of his loved ones abandoning him or being taken away. It all began when he was a kid and his father was killed in World War II, after which his mother became overbearing and attempted to control his life to the point where he wasn't allowed any type of individual thought. This is where his downward spiral began, and this also prompted the construction of the metaphorical wall.

Later in life, Pink's wife leaves him and shacks up with another man as a result of him not giving her enough attention, and this is the breaking point for him as he soon descends deeper and deeper into insanity. As he sits alone in a hotel room, we bear witness to the thoughts and memories that are racing through his mind during this tumultuous time. Welcome, my friends, to The Wall.

While the film may sound fairly straightforward when you read about it in this brief and simplified synopsis, let me assure you that this is not the case. Yes, the overall plot is easy to grasp, but how do all of these delusions and memories play into the grand scheme of things? Why is the scene in the school important, why does Pink dream of becoming a Nazi sympathizer (going so far as to emulate Adolf Hitler), and most importantly, what exactly is this wall? These questions and the numerous other ones that you will eventually find yourself asking are never straight-out answered, so you're going to have to try to piece the puzzle together for yourself if you want any sort of closure to this storyline.

Some have labeled this a "stoner film" in the sense that you have to be stoned in order to make any sense of the seemingly random images that are presented. This is an insult to the intricate storyline that is presented here, as even though it's not a Hollywood blockbuster that spells everything out for the audience, it does have an underlying theme that connects each of these scenes together and everything that we see does have relevance to Pink's state of mind. Nothing was inserted simply for the shock value, and nothing was there to pad out the running time; what you take away from the film and what you choose to believe about the symbolism is up to you, but it does all have a deeper meaning.

Bob Geldof plays this role to perfection, and even though he was only known as the frontman for The Boomtown Rats when he was cast in the role, I honestly couldn't think of any "real" actors who could fill those shoes in quite the same way that he did. I wasn't a huge fan of the way that he sung the songs that Roger Waters and David Gilmour made famous, but this is really an unfair comparison as nobody could sing Pink Floyd's songs as well as the original vocalists. Other than this minor gripe - and it really is minor, as Geldof only sings two partial songs - I can't say a single negative thing about his performance here.

Finally, we have the animation in the film that was created by Gerald Scarfe. Yes, this film mixes together animated sequences with the live actors, and the way that this was done was nothing short of fantastic. The way that these animated images morph from one thing into another and the way that the cartoon monsters interact with the live actors is certainly a sight to behold, and even though the film is now over twenty-five years old, these scenes don't look dated in the least. You wouldn't mistake these images for today's computer-generated imagery, but that was never the point - the point was to mix in a dosage of art with the film, and personally, I couldn't have been happier with the way that it turned out.

I may have been a little biased in my review since this is one of my favorite films, but I truly believe that Pink Floyd: The Wall is a shining example of a perfect film. The album that this film was based on was one of the best releases of all time, and the filmmakers managed to bring this album and the songs within to the big screen and do it all justice. 10/10.
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Nirrad #1: Nirrad - added 05/27/2008, 12:14 AM
Love the album, best album they released. But I just didn't dig this. Bunch of us got together to watch it a few years ago and I was bored to tears.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 05/27/2008, 10:40 AM
I concur with Nirrad. Love the album, but the film didn't really do anything for me. I like films like this, but I will always prefer The Who flicks to Pink Floyd. Just not that interesting, on the whole, for me. 6/10.
grain of sand #3: grain of sand - added 05/28/2008, 07:05 AM
I really don't like The Wall album, I'm more of a Darkside of the Moon and Animals guy myself, but this movie is awesome. I have seen this stoned and stone cold sober more than a hundred times since I can remember (my dad is a huge Floyd fan), and I never get tired of it. I couldn't watch it everyday, but I really love seeing it when I do. 10/10 Most definitely.
Symx #4: Symx - added 06/06/2008, 09:08 AM
10/10
George Snow #5: George Snow - added 11/14/2012, 08:41 PM
I like this more now than I did when it first came out.

Roger Waters Wall tour these past few years, #1 in spectacle. The music is magnificent and Waters treated it as classical and opera is handled. It's pretty exact with some of the finest musicians recreating the album. He's touring Europe in 2013 and hopefully will do another US run. DON'T MISS IT if he does. It's like nothing you've ever seen, or will ever see again.
Hypnatist #6: Hypnatist - added 10/09/2013, 12:54 PM
Bob Geldof gives a classic movie performance. Great Movie, see it if you have not. I saw it when it first came out.
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