Pink Floyd is one of the greatest rock bands to have ever graced this earth. It’s not really an unpopular opinion, but it’s one you don’t hear as much of, with Zeppelin and The Beatles getting a lot of the love. On the other end of the spectrum, though, you had the slow burn, introspective work of Floyd, the kind of music that transcends time, with the politics of today still ringing true in the lyrics of Roger Waters and David Gilmour (case in point, give their song “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” from their incredibly underrated album Animals a listen and tell me that the lyrics to that song doesn’t still ring true). Pink Floyd was a band made up of concepts and ideas, and no album touches every single element of the band as perfectly as their magnum opus The Wall. From the explosive rock intro of “In The Flesh?” to the very end of the stageplay-like song “Outside The Wall,” every song is a masterpiece in its own right and does so well to introduce an audience into the world of Pink. With the album already being incredibly cinematic, it makes plenty of sense that the band would decide to create a feature film to portray their story of isolation and loneliness, and, with the help of director Alan Parker, they went on to create a masterpiece of musical cinema.
Based on the album by the same name, Pink Floyd: The Wall follows a delusional and mentally drained rock-star named Pink (Bob Geldof) as he tours the US with his successful band. Trying to ignore the pain from being away from his wife and the mental scars he’s feeling from his childhood, Pink surrounds himself with television, hookers and drugs as he spirals into a deep depression that makes him evaluate himself, all told in bold and true-to-form Pink Floyd surrealistic fashion. A combination of live action and some of the most disturbing animation put on screen, The Wall is a masterclass in adapting an already cinematic album to screen. Instead of just adapting the album front to back, leader Roger Waters and director Alan Parker mix the album’s track-list up a bit, taking some songs out and putting new ones in, to make sure that the story told on the album would translate well on screen, and oh does it work. The film adapts and adds on to an already interesting surrealist tale of depression and introverted spirals out of control, played perfectly by Bob Geldof. Throw on top of this already incredible piece of work incredible animation by Gerald Scarfe and intense but phenomenally shot rally sequences, and you have a musical masterpiece. How could you not take a trip down to the Coolidge Theater this Thursday to witness the greatest musical of all time? Especially in 35mm too!
Pink Floyd: The Wall
dir. Alan Parker
Part of the ongoing series: Cinema Jukebox