Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)

TheWallPosterBy: Oberst Von Berauscht & Bill Leon (Three Beers) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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-Bill L: Pink Floyd is a rock star having a severe mental breakdown. He holes up inside a hotel room, retrospects on his life, and decides to cut himself off indefinitely from the rest of the world. Hijinx ensue.

-Ken: Ok, so there is this rock star named “Pink”, not to be confused for the female rockstar “Pink” (This fact is irrelevant).  Pink is in a hotel room doing drugs and thinking about his father who died during WWII and traumatic things that happened in his childhood, like being told what to do by school teachers, and having a willing girlfriend/sex partner who he shows no interest in (how is this traumatizing?), so she cheats on him (Oh, ok).  He also seems to equate his mother with his girlfriend, which is kind of fucked up…  Eventually he overdoses and his manager injects him with instant NAZI potion. After this he is put on trial, where a testicle-faced judge revokes his building permit, forcing him to tear down his metaphorical wall.

Deadhorse
SYMBOLISM

A Toast

-Ken: Director Alan Parker (Mississippi Burning, Midnight Express, The Commitments, Fame) seamlessly weaves live action and animated segments together, to create a truly dreamlike nightmare of a film. There is more vivid and haunting imagery in 10 seconds of The Wall than most horror films manage for their full duration. Regardless of how one feels about the film, it is inarguably a fascinating watch from beginning to end, never feeling anything less than fully engaging.

-Bill L: The Wall the album is a great, classic rock opera from 1979 that captures an admittedly Roger Waters-driven Pink Floyd at the tail end of their glorious peak through the 1970s. Most of the music used in the film comes directly from the album.  The music is beyond reproach; Pink Floyd can dominate your mind if you don’t keep an eye on them.  The songs re-recorded for the film are fantastic as well: “In the Flesh”, “Mother”, “Empty Spaces”.

-Ken: Animation director Gerald Scarfe, who also did the music video “Welcome to the Machine” seems to have a perfect grip on the band’s mix of the immediate and ethereal. There is smoothness to the animation which allows for quick transitions, matching with the mood and feel of the music, and serving as a fantastic visual complement.

"The Goosestepping Hammers" is my new rock band...
“The Goosestepping Hammers” is my new rock band…

-Bill L: “Goodbye Blue Sky” is a crowning achievement; for me, quintessential evocative symbolism. I don’t think there is a single second of this sequence done in pretentiousness.

-Ken: I have to credit Bob Geldof’s performance as “Pink”, as a non-actor playing a more or less silent part, he manages a uniquely emotional performance.  As his character changes, it is easy to empathize, if not quite understand his pain.  This is something unique to The Wall film in that they never fully explain the cause of Pink’s trauma.  Films dealing with depression often go out of their way to provide a full explanation, but instead The Wall reveals only bits and pieces.

-Bill L: Bob Geldof was captivating, dynamic, and completely inside that role.

Beer Two

-Ken: One shouldn’t have to google the synopsis of a film after viewing it in order to figure out what is happening.

Some metaphors are admittedly more obvious than others though...
Some metaphors are admittedly more obvious than others though…

A movie should be able to stand on its own, otherwise it is just pure fan service. I still don’t fully get the whole “Fascist” angle of the plot, even after searching for some kind of explanation.  Also, the movie indicates that his mother was overbearing and overprotective in one scene, and in other scenes indicate she was neglectful and absent.  This is seen in the sequence where the boy walks through his empty house looking for a parental figure. Granted, the child was technically looking for his father, but his mother is also absent.  In fact, his mother is rarely shown in the film for more than a few moments.

Bill L: I’m going to attempt to explain the “Fascist” stuff. Roger Waters was inspired to write The Wall after he spit in a kid’s face at a concert for trying to climb up on the stage. I think the ‘fascist’ angle comes into play with him being a rock star and having this influence in people’s lives and their way of thinking.

Despite the fact that this movie does rely heavily on presuming you’re wholly familiar with the album it’s based on… it really benefits from multiple viewings. You will notice new things every time you see it.

Case in point

Beer Three

-Ken: Perhaps the film’s greatest fault is in the way it deals with women, who seem to be little more than needy objects of desire. Even Pink’s mother isn’t free from this, as the movie features numerous Oedipal images which are used to symbolize the psychological disturbances with Pink and his relationships.  In this film, Pink’s mother issues caused him to lose love with his wife, who then cheated on him, which caused Pink to respond by finding a groupie to bang.  He then ignores her until she attempts direct physical contact, after which point he becomes physically abusive.  I find it fascinating that each step of Pink’s descent into madness and self-abuse is helped along by a woman.  Of course, one could take this misogyny to represent Pink finding people other than himself to blame for his misery.  If true, however, how is this helping the audience empathize with him?

-Bill L: It’s entirely true. The only one with a negative outlook on femininity is Pink. His disconnection is what makes his relationships with the females in his life so poor, his disconnect leads to them neglecting and eventually leaving him. I think the animosity which comes from the character is presented in a very justifiable, palpable way.

*eep*

Verdict

3beers

-Ken: Somewhat weighed down by its ambitions, but rather successful overall due to the sheer vastness of creativity at play.

-Bill L: Pink Floyd: The Wall was a lot of firsts for me. It helped me get into more high-minded music, artistically ambitious films, and pretty much all things Bob Geldof. The impact this film had on me cannot be overstated. I have a few qualms but overall, there is very little for me to complain about. I love it unconditionally. And if anyone ever tells you that you need to be on drugs to ‘get it’… punch that person in the mouth.

 

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: anytime something looks like naughty bits

Take a Drink: for those creepy flesh masks

mask
ffffffffuuuuuuuu…

Take a Drink: for fascist imagery

Drink a Shot: each time Pink freaks out

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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