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.

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE WATCHED THE VIDEO

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

 

12 Comments

  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.

      • Teo says:

        thats kind of what i was thinking. but maybe instead of the man kidnaping the girl, i thought the mother was abusive and the man was the girls father and was ultimately trying to protect her (accidentaly kiling his wife in the process). i thought it would be interesting if they had switched roles of who was the abusive parent ( normaly the male in the household). but that was the only one i had thought of, all these other ones are really cool to think about!

  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?

  6. Brian says:

    Here’s my two cents. I know the woman in the closet is his wife. The other woman could be a crazy exgirlfriend or exwife who is jealous of his new life and wants to take it out on the woman currently in his life. He walks in. Hears the muffled screaming. Finds his wife tied and gagged. She’s crying because the other girl is standing behind him about to kill him. He turns around and retaliates which results in her death. By the way, don’t watch the video with your mother so you guys can figure out what he’s saying xD

  7. Katie says:

    So, in reverse, this is what happened.
    He walks into his house, holding his jacket and keys. He turns on the light and throws his keys, and somehow he must hear the woman (possibly his wife) whimpering under the table. He drops his jacket and uncovers the cloth to discover her. He pulls off the tape and holds her while she’s crying, and then the other woman (possibly a jealous girlfriend or something) enters the story. She comes at him with a knife and he pushes her up against a bookshelf and many of the books fall as they battle. She drops the knife and she pushes him towards the couch and he stands on it for a second, but she pushes him over and they tumble over the counter onto the ground in the kitchen . He stands up and trys to get farther away, and she throws a bottle at him, and it hits the wall. So he picks up a breeze block (cinder block) and she tries to grab it from him and they fight over it for some time. She eventually gives up and starts running down the hall. He chases, still with the block, down the hallway, grabbing her shirt in the process, she breaks free and runs into the bathroom where the bath was either full or running, and he smashes her in the head with it, and she falls into the bath and dies. He then sits down against the wall; thinking…

  8. Nikki says:

    Man walks in to find his wife tied up by his crazy mistress. You can tell in his eyes after he takes the tape from her mouth that he knows what he’s done was wrong. He goes and attacked the crazy mistress and kills her because he knows she has ruined his life so he takes hers. It only makes since to me that way!

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