Up against The Wall

A student review of Pink Floyd’s magnum opus
Up against The Wall

Pink Floyd’s film, The Wall* is a brilliant masterstroke hailing from the gifted mind of front man, Roger Waters. The movie is a vessel that sails the watcher through a turbulent sea of conceptually allusive modern art. Unlike common cinema, The Wall has no dialogue of traditional means, for the storyline is conveyed by screaming guitar and meaningful lyricism. Between brief interruptions of nearly hallucinogenic animation, viewers follow the story of a stereotypical, borderline satirical, rockstar, “Pink.” From scene to scene watchers are shown Pink’s tragic war torn childhood, in which he struggles with the loss of his father and battles with authority in school. Then viewers watch the performer’s dream-like rise to fame and, consequently, his spiral down into the depths of reality. The damning catalyst for Pink’s detrimental drug induced frenzy is his emotionally neglected wife’s infidelity. Ironically the final nail in his coffin takes form as the very same institutional power Pink had been rebelling against since his early years.

The entire film is laced with intricate symbolism which one cannot even begin to wholly grasp within a few watches, because of this numerous untrained eyes write the flick off as over indulgent LCD stimuli. However, in this seemingly muddled onslaught of significance, lies the key components that have resulted in The Wall’s longevity and cultural impact. In even a single ounce of the movie there is a memoir worth of intellectual commentary and thought on contemporary issues, that after forty-three years still have genuine social importance. For many school-age adolescents the mantra, “No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Hey! Teacher leave them kids alone!” rings more true than ever. Even today when faced with the brutality of domineering didactics, the scenes of children destroying the study halls of their oppressors have endured. And unfortunately, the thematic criticism of authoritative, white supremacist dictators remains incredibly relevant in the atmosphere of current politics. Thus it would be ill-informed if any modern movie goers were to disregard Roger Waters’ brainchild simply because of its 1979 release date.

From a standpoint of pure enjoyment The Wall is not for the faint of heart. The film has an overall pessimistic perspective on existence and its constant themes of isolation, abandonment, and general dread make for a mentally burdensome watch. With that being said, often witnessing an outstanding negativity is the only activity potent enough to eradicate dangerous complacency and realize worthwhile sentiments previously unprovoked. Pink Floyd’s awareness of this anomaly when creating their rock opera is undeniable, but if the people wish to stop shoveling Newspeak into their minds and partake in something truly inspiring, then this is a viable option. Considering the moving nature of The Wall, it would be a blatantly reprehensible decision to deny oneself the refreshed frame of mind associated with viewing such a life altering motion picture.        

*Italics are not consistent with AP Style rules; however, Best is fundamentally opposed to following rules when they are not conducive to his creative vision. 

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