Friday, May 11, 2012

The 31 Day Movie Challege - Day 13 - PINK FLOYD: THE WALL (1982)

- Rated R for disturbing and violent images, sexual content, nudity and some strong language.
- Starring Bob Geldof, Eleanor David, Kevin McKeon, Bob Hoskins
- Written by Roger Waters (based on Pink Floyd's album The Wall)
- Directed by Alan Parker
- Running time: 1hr 35min

(The 31 Day Movie Challenge was proposed to me by fellow film critic Jessie Hoheisel (from superawesomemovieblog). We each chose 30 films for each other to review for the month of May. The first film chosen will be from 1970. The second film from 1971... and so on. The last day will be a film from 2000. I accepted the challenge!)

Throughout my High School years, everyone was telling me to watch this.  But many of them did drugs while watching it, and I never did that kind of stuff.  It kind of turned me off of it.  I saw some bits and pieces of it when it was on in the background of a chicks house when I was 16, but I was so distracted trying to make out with her (I failed) that I didn't see any of the film really.  I did listen to the album and have grown to really appreciate it over the years.  Now, with no drugs, I got to experience PINK FLOYD: THE WALL.

There is a plot, but you wouldn't know it by watching the movie.  It was only afterward, reflecting on the film, that I was able to make out a story.  Bob Geldof plays Pink, a rock star who is in a downward spiral.  He parties and drinks too much, he's grown apart from his wife, and is always thinking of his childhood. On paper, it's a very typical story of a rock star who goes down hill.  We've seen it all before..........  but not like this.

The movie opens with a very slow moving dolly shot as the camera moves slowly down a hotel hallway.  Then a cleaning lady comes out and starts a vacuum cleaner, which jump starts the movie.  What follow is a series of unbelievably beautiful and haunting images set to the music of Pink Floyd.  When we first see Pink, he's watching TV in his hotel room.  The shot starts from behind him, and then moves to the front of him, but very close as you can see every pour in his cigarette holding hand.  What a marvelous shot!  The movie is full of them.

If you're looking for a linear story, then look elsewhere.  This is a strictly metaphorical movie, much like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, or even TREE OF LIFE.  I loved both of those, which is why I enjoyed the hell out of this.  You've heard of concept albums?  Well this is a concept film.  Throughout, we see the innermost thoughts and fears of Pink.  We see his father dying in WWII, Pink growing up as a child, and there are plenty of  disturbing musical numbers.  "We Don't Need No Education", has kids marching into a meat grinder.  What does it all mean?  Well, it's all up to the viewer.  I love films like this.

Director Alan Parker is a terrific visual storyteller  Ever since I saw BUGSY MALONE, I have been a fan of his.  Loved MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, BIRDY and ANGEL HEART.  This is easily one of his best films if not THE best film of his career. Every shot is perfectly set up to evoke a sense of unease or eeriness.  There are also beautifully haunting animated sequences blended in to the movie.  I was riveted throughout cause I wanted to see what Parker would throw at us next.  There were so many images I won't soon forget from this.

Pink Floyd's classic album The Wall is celebrated in this horrifying, but beautiful nightmare of a film.  Like I said before, you have to figure out the movie for yourself.  Nothing is put together for you, but all the pieces of the puzzle are there for you to create what you want.  It's refreshing to see a movie that is completely out of the box, and doesn't follow any present forumla.  THE WALL is a great rock opera.

***1/2 (out of ****)

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