Well, you all know that I like Pink Floyd. I’ve reviewed their famous concert at Pompeii, as well as a documentary on the band’s history. Well, in the early 80s, The Floyd put togeather a film based on their hit album The Wall, to try and bring the pagentry and imagery from the show to audiences who wouldn’t have had an opportunity to see it. Now, the execution of the concept changed over time, but it stuck with the album’s plot. The question is: did it work?
The Premise: Rock musician Pink (played by Bob Geldof, making his film debut), is undergoing a nervous breakdown in his hotel room. As he goes mad, he looks back on his life, and at the circumstances that brought him to this point, starting from the death of his father in the second world war.
The Good: Gerald Scarfe’s animated sequences are excellent. One of the things about the Live in Berlin concert that didn’t quite work with me was the fact that we didn’t particularly get to see many of Scarfe’s animated sequences. We got a good look at “Goodbye Blue Sky”, and “The Empty Spaces”, but that’s it. Here we finally get to appreciate them in their full glory.
Also, the direction in the film is generally superb. In particular, the opening shot of the film, of the hotel hallway leading up to Pink’s room, as well as the sequence from the Battle of Anzio. Geldof’s acting is also appropriately distant and cut-off for most of the movie, until he starts trying to get out of the wall and begins visibly displaying signs of his breakdown.
The Bad: “Hey You” is cut from the film entirely, at the suggestion of Waters, for the reasons of trying to lighten up the film some when, really, once the wall itself comes up in the second half of the show or the second disk of the album, it’s a very dark and grim show, and Waters meant it to be that way, by all accounts so… basically, I feel that sequence should have been left in, or, alternatively, been put on the DVD to be watched seperately. It is my hope that if the movie comes out on Blu-Ray, that sequence will be included, with (hopefully) an option to watch the movie with the sequence in context, or the original theatrical cut.
The Ugly: This film contains some grotesque and violent, disturbing (though not gory) imagery. I’m normally not one to tell parents what to show or not show their kids, but this is not a movie for young children at all ever. It was rated R for a very good reason.
The Verdict: I liked this film. It’s a heavy film, in terms of its imagery, tone, and subject matter, but it’s not as heavy as Grave of the Fireflies or Requiem for a Dream. It’s not a film where you’ll watch it and go “that’s a good movie and I’ll never watch it again.” If you like the album, and you like Pink Floyd, and you’ll listen to the album (in its entirety) more than once, then I’d reccomend giving this film a purchase. Otherwise, rent it first. However, it is, I would say, one of those films that everyone should see at least once.