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