Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)
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I love Pink Floyd, and I think "The Wall" is a brilliant album - but I didn't like this film version at all. It looks fantastic - both the live action sequences lovingly shot by Alan Parker and the brilliant animated sections by Gerald Scarfe - but Roger Waters amateurish screenplay is an absolute disaster. It looks like Parker filmed a whole narrative story that was then chopped into pieces and thrown out, mostly seen in tiny fragments and almost entirely muted behind the music. Fans would argue this is to do with Pink's fragile state of mind, piecing together his life story through the perspective of his increasing insanity, but if that's the point, it just doesn't work. There's nothing to ever make you care about the character because you never see how or why he's famous, or what makes him tick other than his clear love of "The Dambusters". The fascist ideas are interesting but underdeveloped, the ending abrupt and incomplete. It's been interesting to read the general negativity of all involved in the making of it - Parker and Waters reportedly hated each other and the former has never had positive things to say about the final product, likening it to a hugely expensive student film. I'd have to agree.
Doesn't feature much of a plot, and the characters are pretty much cardboard cut-outs (admittedly this isn't exactly unheard of in the musical and rock opera genres). With its archetypal onslaught of evil teachers, controlling mother, vaginas dentata, war atrocities, fascist terror and desperate screaming, it's all as unsubtle, bleak, humourless and dated as the Berlin Wall (or that V for Vendetta flick). It sure helps if you care for the music, which I personally don't.
What it does have going for it though, is a collection of indelible imagery sprinkled throughout the film (mostly in the animated bits), such as pupils going through the meat grinder, deformed face masks, flower sex, marching hammers, and various grotesque morphing figures (like a talking butt!). Thus, sequences from The Wall could easily be edited into an iconic music video (Another Brick in the Wall, part 2), which in my opinion is what this material is best suited to.
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In 8 official lists
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This movie ranks #4 in IMDb's Musical Top 50
This movie ranks #10 in IMDb's Music Top 50
This movie ranks #20 in IMDb's Animation Top 50
This movie ranks #29 in IMDb's Fantasy Top 50
This movie ranks #31 in IMDb's 1980s Top 50
This movie ranks #94 in 366 Weird Movies (Certified Weird)
This movie ranks #366 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #700 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die