If you're caught up in the psychedelic imagery, confused by what the film is really about, let me offer a summary. At its heart, a rock star named Pink (Bob Geldof) discovers his wife is cheating on him when he calls home one day while on tour, discovering she's with another man ("this is United States calling..."). Pink recedes into a shell of his own creation, remembering his troubled childhood with evil schoolmasters ("hey, teacher, leave those kids alone...") and the problems he caused his mother ("mother, do you think they'll try and break... my balls?"), but mostly dreaming about his father who died in World War II ("bring the boys back home!"), a father he never knew. Crazier and crazier ("toys in the attic, he is crazy"), Pink puts up a wall to shield himself from the outside world, finally imagining himself a Hitler-like leader ("if I had my way... I'd have all of you shot!") until his eventual trial for his real and imaginary crimes. The verdict: Guilty. The sentence: "Tear down the wall."
The Wall is also a little too obvious of a reference to the Berlin Wall, but no wall stands so high as the one Pink has built. Directed by Alan Parker (also responsible for the atrocity that is Evita), The Wall is a stylistic and deeply atmospheric drama, along with Tommy the only decent rock opera on film. Set to music by Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (and performed so memorably by the band--the sountrack album rates as one of the greatest musical experiences available), the film also makes absolutely no sense without its songs -- try watching based on the spare subtitles alone and you'll be totally baffled. The blur of images, from extreme close-ups to far-out animations don't help your mind, but that's the point.
Anyway, if you don't buy my interpretation, there are plenty more to hear on the DVD. Waters offers a commentary track, and two documentaries explore the making of the film. It's a must-own for any Pink Floyd fan and a recommended investment for any moviegoer.
Run time: 95 mins
In Theaters: Friday 10th September 1982
Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Goldcrest Films International, Tin Blue
Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 5
IMDB: 8.0 / 10
Director: Alan Parker
Producer: Alan Marshall
Screenwriter: Roger Waters
Starring: Christine Hargreaves as Pink's Mother, James Laurenson as Pink's Father, Eleanor David as Pink's Wife, Bob Geldof as Pink, Alex McAvoy as Schoolteacher, Jenny Wright as American Groupie, Kevin McKeon as Young Pink, Bob Hoskins as Rock and Roll Manager, David Bingham as Little Pink, Ellis Dale as English Doctor, James Hazeldine as Lover, Ray Mort as Playground Father, Margery Mason as Teacher's Wife, Robert Bridges as American Doctor, Michael Ensign as Hotel Manager