Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Pink Floyd The Wall (1982)
In my late teens, I was a semi-fan of Pink Floyd. I suspect it had something to do with the 'high concept' nature of several of their albums, which appealed to my sense of intellectual superiority. One such album was 'The Wall', which doubled-down on the Floyd's usual cynicism and self-importance by being about the isolation and social maladjustment of a misunderstood, tormented genius.
If ever an album was calculated to appeal to a bright but socially awkward teenager ...
Anyway, I initially saw and liked the movie shortly after becoming familiar with the music. Eight years ago, having not seen the move in about a decade, I picked it up on DVD. Mostly out of a combination of nostalgia and it being cheap. And then I didn't watch it. You shouldn't be surprised. My failure to watch DVDs I own is, after all, why this project exists.
So this is the first time I've seen the film in about eighteen years, and perhaps the preamble has given away that I wasn't much impressed. Roger Waters, who was one of the main song-writers in the band and who also wrote the screenplay, lost his father when he was a youngster, and boy, has he not got over that. The film relentlessly underscored how terrible that was for him. And I'm sure it was, but it becomes a bit repetitive when it's the main theme of a ninety minute film.
Anyway, Roger's expy in the film grows up to be rockstar 'Pink', played by Bob Geldof (who does a rather painful rendition of a couple of the songs from the record). He resents his mother, hated school, and has a dysfunctional marriage. The last is probably because he's built the titular "wall" around his emotions and self-identity, closing out anything that might possibility hurt him.
So basically, the film's about him wallowing in his hatred of everyone in his life (including himself), and remembering or imagining all kinds of misery, until at the end he finally snaps - both in the real world and inside his own mind - and tears down the wall he has created. The end. So, happy ending I guess.
Gerald Scarfe's animated 'dream' sequences in the film have some pretty cool sequences (though apparently teenage me was obvlious to a lot of the imagery of sexual organs in them), but the live action sequences of the film (which is 2/3 of it) are really very self-indulgent and dull. I can't recommend it unless you're a fan of the band.