Thursday, March 7, 2013

Muse – “Madness”

  We start out with two people apparently involved in some type of smoking competition on a subway. The one guy has that slicked-back-hair, European look like he’s in a cologne ad for some designer fragrance that none of the common people can afford, and the woman has that slightly-mussy, supermodel long hair that you usually see on the mysterious but pretty woman in mystery thrillers, the one that you don’t suspect of doing horrible things with pitchforks but you find out in the last five minutes of the movie that, yep, she’s very familiar with farm implements.

  They sit there very quietly for a bit, because I guess that’s what you do in smoking competitions on public transport, despite the fact that we can see some type of dog clawing at one of the windows. Then we start getting quick images of a pseudo-military gang of men marching around in combat boots and dark couture. They have guns, so they probably mean business, we just don’t know what that business might be or why we’re not allowed to see them for longer than 0.37 seconds at a time.

  We roll into a cryptic montage of more imagery, jumping around all over the place with bits of this and that, with the general theme being anarchy and wet darkness. Some people appear to be running from something, other people appear to be tromping along in places involving lots of subway steam, a gang of questionable folks with hoodies might be preparing for a ritual sacrifice, and all of this activity is being provoked or monitored by the shadowy storm-troopers who refuse to let us see their faces but sure want us to see their guns.

  Are we at the Republican National Convention?

  The smoking supermodels aren’t offering any explanations, choosing instead to just sit there nonchalantly and let their ashes get dangerously long. Oh wait, the song finally kicked in, and suddenly the female smoker (let’s call her Alexa) is marching toward an escalator. (Wouldn’t it be fun if she can only smoke inside and has to go outside to not smoke? That would be a nice societal twist.) But before we can learn further details about her journey, we get shots of the band (or at least people holding instruments) in yet another dark and dank location. One guy is playing a guitar that appears to have a touch screen where the strings would be, a development that strikes fear into the hearts of garage bands everywhere.

  Lead singer Matthew suddenly appears, looking very focused about achieving an aura of moody angst, which really isn’t that hard to do when the set designer they’ve hired apparently watched Blade Runner way too many times. Back to Alexa on the escalator, destination still unknown, and she’s surrounded by those annoying people who jump around and fidget instead of just waiting for the ride to end. Some of those folks look very angry, which isn’t surprising, considering there’s just not enough light in this place for anybody to remain happy for any length of time.

  Alexa politely proceeds through a bank of turnstiles, whilst her companions leap over them like wolves sensing that one of the Kardashians is in heat. (The wolf people are obviously up to no good, so Alexa should make sure that she’s taken the safety off of her pepper spray.) We then have a murky bit where I really can’t tell what is going on, other than no one is smiling, and then we get some shots of the band performing in the subterranean bathroom, or whatever it is, and Matthew singing in front of what might be a giant neon diaphragm.

  More murkiness. People seem to be relocating from one place to another, but no explanations or itineraries are presented.

  We’re back with Alexa, with her and her hair still walking somewhere, in a place that causes her to look around furtively. (Is she trying to find her agent? Good luck with that.) Oh wait, someone is following her as she heads toward another subway car. (Dude, she paid for her ticket, you need to go harass those wolf people.) My bad, the dude is the male supermodel from the smoking competition. (He found an ugly coat somewhere along the line, and that totally changed his persona.) He gets on the subway, but Alexa gets back off to light another cigarette. (Girl has needs, sayin.)

  The male model (let’s call him Wycliffe) stares out the window at Alexa for a while, then decides to join her. But before they can meet cute, we roll into another montage of the band playing, the storm-troopers stomping around with swagger that is probably steroid-based, and more of that irritating steam that seems to be coming from nowhere. Then we start getting the impression that the wolf people and the storm-troopers are both marching toward Alexa and Wycliffe. This means that the two of them have done something very bad or people are just sick of other people with zero-percent body fat and great hair.

  Dang, we have another tension-breaking montage, with more of the band not being happy in the loo, fires possibly being started in places that they shouldn’t, storm-troopers possibly racing to beat the hell out of the fire-starters or just trying to do crowd control at Macy’s, something about what might be an aqueduct in ancient Rome, and more of that mood-killing random steam. (I’m starting to think that if somebody would simply adjust a gaseous output-valve somewhere, we’d have a whole different video.)

   Oh look, Alexa has finally hooked up with Wycliffe, touching him on the shoulder in a manner that could be affectionate or threatening. But before they can consummate their relationship, we have yet another montage. I’ll shorthand it for you: people running, people fleeing, storm-troopers storming, band playing, something with giant iron gates, steam. Then we finally get back to Alexa and Wycliffe fondling each other and moving in for a kiss that may or may not happen because there’s too much going on in this video to figure out who’s zooming who.

  So we get to the instrumental part of the song, which signals Alexa and Wycliffe to stand in the middle of a subway platform and wait for whatever to happen. (She appears to be standing on a box that some fool dropped trying to make the next connection, so she might have some height insecurities that she needs to work out with her therapist.) There’s also some commotion where the storm-troopers might be fighting some of the wolf people, not clear, but we at least get to see “SWAT” on the back of one of the troopers as he tumbles to the steam-drenched floor. Okay, then. Tactical units have been engaged for this operation. Whatever that operation might be.

  Another montage of murky violence and unhappiness. Was that Jerry Springer doing a cameo? Or maybe Geraldo Rivera. Somebody appeared very briefly and then quickly returned to bitter obscurity.

  Then we have Alexa abandoning her little box and marching along the platform, followed by Wycliffe and his coat that nobody likes. We have a brief distraction with some attention-craving man breaking subway windows with an axe, then an odd mash-up image of lead singer Matthew and Alexa. (Does he want her? Does she even know him? Are they the same people, just on different days? So many questions.) Then somebody lights a tear-gas thing and throws it into the mix, like we need more billowing clouds of whatever in this giant underground sauna.

  Oh my, some guy just pulled out his hose and started squirting. I’m just going to let that one go.

  Well, maybe I can’t. The water from said hose manages to turn back some of the wolf people, as well as some innocent bystanders who were just trying to get to Chinatown for some tasty Dim Sum at Hoon Lee’s. And in the midst of all this forceful wetness, all hell breaks loose.

  Singer Matthew hits some astonishing high notes, Alexa grabs Wycliffe around his ugly collar in a manner that might be intensely lustful or intensely pissed, things seem to be flying in the air all around them like some kind of “don’t ever touch that” portal was just breached, the whole set is shaking as if California is about to snap off and float toward Hawaii (creating Calwaii, a new state where the Oscars are awarded with a pineapple ring on top), and Matthew still does not understand that the giant diaphragm behind him is distracting from his artistry.

  Then Alexa plants a forceful kiss on Wycliffe, despite the mayhem and questionably-plotted things happening around them. This bit of face-suckage goes on for a while, allowing us plenty of time to watch all the mayhem settle down in and around the subway car that started all this mess. Speaking of the start, we now have Alexa and Wycliffe in their original positions, with cigarettes being smoked and both of them facing away from each other, not saying a word or attempting to explain what just happened, how they can possibly justify their actions, why everything is so wet, or who is going to write the thank-you notes for the SWAT team that allowed them to board a subway car without having to stand in line like everybody else…

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

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