Breezeblocks by alt-J – Murder In Reverse

Be prepared music industry, the up-and-coming folk-step group Alt-J is looking to shock the world and capture an audience by pairing their distinctly unique style of music with some unbelievable music videos.

The playwright James Aurthur Baldwin once wrote, “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war.” With the video for the song, Breezeblocks, from Alt-J’s debut album, An Awesome Wave, he and director Ellis Bahl ponder the powerful, opposing forces of love and hate. Done on a shoestring budget of 4,000 pounds, Bahl’s dark and gritty work demonstrates that vision and storytelling combined with a fantastic song can be just as powerful as a feature-length movie.

A murder played in reverse is engrossing up to the chilling final twist. Bahl delivers a slow motion, bellicose dance of the sexes to paint a picture where the meaning is abstract, but the tone resonates. Bahl not only contemplates the nature of relationships, but also how important perspective can be to any story.


Like any good thriller, Bahl’s finishing twist changes how we think about the whole, but because the story is told in reverse, the twist works two ways. Depending on the direction in which this story is told or viewed, the audiences’ interpretation of the characters’ motivations, the climax and the resolution change completely. Alt-J’s version opens with a woman, crushed dead and drowned by a breezeblock, but who is miraculously restored to life by a married man. Although they fight, he eventually chooses her over his wife, whom he locks up and walks out on. On the other hand, in forward motion, a husband discovers his wife locked up by a jealous girlfriend, whom he fights and eventually kills. In the end, Bahl purposefully leaves the narrative open to interpretation, but both Alt-J and Bahl seem to agree on the fact that love can be both literally and emotionally crushing.

– Adam Biederman, Content Engine intern



  1. lauraΔ says:

    Alt-j are beautiful, breezeblocks and tessellate have to be my favourite songs. I watched the video and figured it all out but didn’t understand the start/end.

  2. Trevor says:

    Ok,I just wanted to say that it is definitely his wife who he is fighting, and the girl who is tied up is his daughter, not a girlfriend. The daughter clearly says “mom” at some point in the video.

    • babbles says:

      Nope, the tied up lady has the matching ring

    • Tatiana says:

      I didn’t even notice that and I’ve watched the video numerous times. I knew she was yelling something, but I could not make out her words. How about this theory then: if the woman he is fighting is the girl’s (who is tied up) mother, could it be possible that the woman whom he is fighting is NOT his wife? She could in fact be the mother of the girl whom HE KIDNAPPED. The video has two basic interpretations for sure. Either the woman he is fighting is the psychopath trying to harm him OR the man is indeed the psychopath who has kidnapped the woman’s daughter. Being that the video puts emphasis on his wedding ring, couldn’t it also mean that he is married to someone else and leads a double-life as a kidnapper?? This would explain the wedding ring AND why he came in AND/OR left. That could not be his actual home. Why would he be fighting his wife like that? What would be the need to tie up his own child? HE could be the crazy one and the woman he is fighting could be trying to rescue her daughter. Think about it.

      • Nate says:

        That is the most ridiculous interpretation. Slow down. There is no way one of these women is the other’s biological mother and that this is about a serial killer! It is at most a metaphorical tale of feeling trapped, desperate, suffocated and furious to get out from a relationship, and at least a jealous girlfriend invader story with a mortified wife bound and gagged and a man with some serious house of cards toppling down around him.

  3. Landonya says:

    It was emotionally gripping. The music video was beautifully horrific, and by being watched in reverse it makes it enthralling and you don’t know what will happen. In the beginning I thought a crazy man killed his wife in a case of domestic violence, but in the end I understood how she was the crazy one

  4. Babababa says:

    When I first watched the video I was under the impression that the two women were one and the same… That the ring/closet on the captive represented the ties that come to bind lovers. The slow-motion fight that culminates in the drowning, I also saw as more symbolic than directly representative; if any of you have been in a dysfunctional relationship, it may have felt like one big, drawn-out fight in slow motion – that the relationship itself was a weight on the chest of a drowning victim. The fight was visually stunning, so I think people attribute direct correlation to the events that have a more allegorical meaning.

  5. chandler says:

    The video obviously shows both the husband and the women tied up (wife) having rings. They showed their hands in order for us to interpret they’re married. Why would anyone think different?

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