Pink Floyd Fans Gain Unique Insight into ‘The Wall’ with New Roger Waters Film: Review

Roger Waters The Wall
Review
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A Turner Archives

Between 2010 and 2013 Pink Floyd’s mastermind Roger Waters toured performing the band’s epic 1979 album The Wall. The historic outing marked the biggest worldwide tour by a solo artist and the shows were nothing short of a breathtaking feat of musicianship, amazing art direction and special effects. 

The concerts featured a state of the art video screen, which was projected onto a huge 500-foot wall built each night during the concert. The Wall Live tour also boasted huge inflatable puppets, an airplane flying through the air and crashing into the stage and an overwhelming amount of pyrotechnics sprinkled through the show where Waters and his band played the seminal album in its entirety. 

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Roger Waters The Wall is the new film that documents the tour and also shows an up close and personal side to the normally guarded artist. The film features the entire concert interspersed with footage of Waters embarking on an emotional road trip where he reconciles the untimely deaths of his grandfather and father in World War I and World War II, respectively.

In the film, Waters takes a rite of passage road trip, with his three grown children. They visit the grave of Water’s grandfather, who was killed in France on Sept. 9, 1914, when his father was just two years old. He also gets emotional shedding tears when he visits Anzio, Italy, where his father Lt. Eric Waters died following a bitter fight during World War II in February of 1944. 

In an ironic and tragic twist of fate, two generations of Waters boys grew up without their father. It’s something that the legendary artist still wrestles with although, after taking the cathartic journey, he seems to be a little more at peace with it. 

“I had a recurring dream through my life that I had murdered someone and felt incredibly guilty,” the usually cagey Waters explains in the film. After realizing and coming to terms that the dreams were about his father, he never had the dream again.

“Political action kills people,” Waters deadpans in the film. It’s an understandable point of view coming from someone who has dealt with such loss in his life. 

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He drives the point home during the live performances in the film, which feature a lot of heavy-handed anti-war imagery. Waters takes every chance to tug at emotional heart stings showing pictures of many soldiers who were killed in action as well as political activists who met an untimely and tragic end. It hits its peak during the anthemic and tear-inducing performance of “Bring The Boys Back Home,” the album’s blatant anti-war track.  

Many of the songs on The Wall are personal songs that touch on the death of Waters' father. The first song “In The Flesh?” concludes with a plane crashing, signifying the passing of Eric Waters. In “Mother,” the subject of the album deals with his over-protective matriarch, who is overcompensating and smothering the boy, due to the loss of her husband. 

The epically psychedelic performance of the groundbreaking masterpiece is incendiary and filmed in 4K, which provides breathtaking visuals. Guitarist Snowy White, Dave Kilminster and former Saturday Night Live bandleader G.E. Smith as well as a host of other musicians, including Waters’ son Harry, brilliantly perform the layered songs at the height of musicianship.

The audience revels in the scope and scale of the production at the stadium concert. Many fans get emotional singing and chanting along to Pink Floyd’s classics including “Another Brick in the Wall,” "Young Lust" and the chill-inducing "Comfortably Numb." 

Roger Waters The Wall, which is co-directed by Waters and Sean Evans, will arrive in theaters for a one-night only global release on Monday (Sept. 29). It will be presented in over 300 theaters in North America alone. The film will also feature an exclusive “in conversation” with Roger Waters and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, where the two reunite and break bread while answering questions submitted by fans. For more information head to Fathom Events.