Pencilstorm Hall of Fame Nominee: Pink Floyd / The Wall (The Movie) - by Wal Ozello

I know what you’re thinking. Of course Wal is going to nominate The Wall. But allow me to walk you through what I consider as one of the greatest marriages of music and cinema…..

FADE IN on a luxurious art deco hotel hallway. The camera ever-so-slowly floats down the hallway. In the distance we see a maid using a canister vacuum to clean the muted green carpet and we make our way towards her. The camera plane is skewed a bit, leaning towards the right, to give us a feeling of instability while floating towards the maid. When the camera reaches the end of the hallway, and as the maid steps to the canister vacuum to turn it on, we cut to the perspective of the floor looking up at the maid. Her foot comes into frame and covers the camera lens as we CUT TO BLACK.

Thus starts the cinematic masterpiece known as “Pink Floyd - The Wall.”  This is not a two hour music video. It’s a work of art, a beautiful blend of rock music, film, and animation – steeped in a story attracting the same audience of rock n roll.

Birthed out of Roger Waters’ neurotic mind, filled with the dark animation of political cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, and directed by the sensationalism of Alan Parker (Commitments, Mississippi Burning, Angel Heart), Pink Floyd – The Wall debuted in 1982. The story follows Floyd “Pink” Pinkerton’s (Bob Geldof) journey through life fueled by the soundtrack of the album by the same name. Albeit his glorious rock n roll stardom, Pink wallows in depression due to the loss of his father in the war and doting and controlling mother. His relationships continually falter throughout the film as he takes a one-way trip on the crazy train. Metaphorically speaking, he builds a wall between himself and the world and fills his inadequacies with the euphoric drug of performance.

I encourage you to rent this disc and watch it. You’ll discover a brilliant film that easily stands on his its own, but is brought to another level with the music of Roger Waters. Even if you’ve already seen it, this is film to re-watch as an adult. Sober.  It’s in my Top Ten all time movie favorites.

Some memorable parts:

  •  An extreme close-up of his Mickey Mouse watch. The camera slightly pans to reveal a cigarette with a lengthy ash, then tilts again for a full shot of Pink’s face. It slowly moves into an extreme close-up of his eye
  • A scene where concert go-ers rush into a stadium to get great floor seats. It’s intercut with soldiers rushing into battle.
  • A touching scene where Pink is on a playground as a child. He see another child playing with his father and tries to “adopt” the dad as his own.
  • How seven minutes of editing magic can sum up Pink’s relationship with women during the song “Mother.”
  • The flower animation scene which follows, underscored by “Empty Spaces.”
  • Watch for the cameo from Bob Hoskins. 

Wal Ozello is a science fiction techno-thriller novelist and the author of Assignment 1989 ,  Revolution 1990, and Sacrifice 2086. He's a resident of Upper Arlington, Ohio and a frequent customer at Colin's Coffee.