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The film is every bit as patchy as the album.
on 7 November 2004
In 1979, Pink Floyd released their double concept album The Wall, which received a mixed reception varying from joy to bewilderment to anger. Personally, I'm not much of a fan. I love Comfortably Numb, all the versions of Another Brick in the Wall and In the Flesh, and I must confess to being in awe of the intricate way the themes of the songs work together, but there's just too much crap on there. Empty Spaces? Bring the Boys Back Home? The Happiest Days of Our Lives? Whose idea were they?! They're self-indulgent rubbish! In all, the album is OK, but hardly a joy to listen to. So, I approached the film with mixed feelings, knowing that the conceptual coherence of the album made it perfect for filming, but also that the flawed nature of the music would leave me cold at times.
It was pretty much as I expected. I enjoyed 'Another Brick in the Wall part 2' and 'Young Lust' and was genuinely touched by 'The Thin Ice'. On the other hand, I found myself reaching for the 'skip scene' button on the interminable 'Mother', and was disappointed by 'The Trial'. I've seen reviews of this film elsewhere that say Alan Parker (director) did a poor job with this film, and that Gerald Scarfe (animator) should have been allowed to do the whole thing. Now I can't deny that I love what Scarfe did with 'Goodbye Blue Sky' - I think it really captures the song's mood well. But it is Alan Parker who seeks to truly tell the story behind Pink (Roger)'s breakdown - he shows that Pink ignored his wife after their marriage and presents this as a possible reason for their divorce, while Scarfe simply presents her as a creature of pure evil exploiting the helpless Pink - probably more how Roger Waters would have wanted to portray her.
If you love the album of The Wall (and you have every right to), then you'll love this film, and please accept my heartfelt apologies for the criticisms I have made of an album you love.
If you have mixed feelings about The Wall, as I did, then this film is still worth checking out. Just have your finger on the mute button and a copy of a better album (perhaps Dark Side of the Moon?) at hand for when the soundtrack gets bad.
All in all, this film is worth its three stars, but it is badly flawed in places so I'm afraid I can't give it a higher rating.