Let me state up front that I am a Pink Floyd fan. They have several great albums and one day I will do a post about their masterpiece, Dark Side of the Moon. As to The Wall, I’ve always liked but never loved it. With few exceptions, I find it to be a relentless downbeat bummer. But you don’t go to Pink Floyd expecting happy, upbeat pop. So it is what it is.
Since I had never seen Floyd, my wife and I went to Fenway Park and saw The Wall when Waters was touring behind it. We both enjoyed it, as much – or more – for the spectacle than anything else. But we both realized we did not remember half the tunes on the album. All that said, when I found out that the movie was going to be playing, I decided to go see it. I figured it would present it in a more intimate fashion as I was sitting what felt like about a mile away at Fenway.
I got a pretty good seat at the megaplex. Before the film started, they played songs such as Lennon’s “Mother,” and Dylan’s “Masters of War,” the better, I guess, to set the mood. Then when it started Liam Neeson (!) came on and talked about how profoundly impacted he was when he saw this in London in 1980. I guess he had his own “wall” issues between himself and others, between himself and audience. Funny it never impacted me in any way, shape, or form. I kinda liked some of the message but other than that, no. But he did a good job building up anticipation.
And so the rest of the movie? Well, in a word, disappointing. For one thing, the sound was no big deal. It wasn’t nearly as loud as it needed to be. Secondly, the theater didn’t solve the intimacy issue at all. Sure there were closeups of the band singing and playing but somehow that didn’t seem to matter. But worst of all, Waters decided to intersperse videos of himself (and sometimes drummer Nick Mason) talking, driving around, having a glass of wine, visiting his father’s grave, etc. I suppose this was all done to buttress whatever the message was. For me, it was like someone’s boring home movie.
One of the reviews I read said that the idea shouldn’t work but does. Another one said it was typical Waters self-indulgence. I actually like Waters but I think that yea, it was self-indulgent. And really boring. I didn’t even stay all the way to the end. At almost three hours – and then more of Waters and Mason scheduled to talk afterward – I didn’t feel like sticking around. Sure I paid 20 bucks. But I just wasn’t into it.
So can I recommend this? Well, only to diehard fans of either Floyd in general or The Wall in particular. And maybe the worst thing is that this movie revealed that minus a handful of tracks, The Wall is kind of a draggy album.