In the lead up their new album, ‘Afraid Of Heights‘, Billy Talent recently released a film clip for the eponymous track, and while the song itself is great, the video left me very intrigued with a boat load of questions.
So, let’s dive right in.
The music video begins with an unnamed man and woman (played by Chad Hopson and Christina McLeod) running from two men through some random woods. Okay, got it so far.
Throughout the clip, the footage intercuts between the band “playing” the song in front of some gorgeous backdrops, and the story of our male lead helping this woman to escape and secure her subsequent freedom from the powers that be. This wood scene at the very beginning is actually footage from the end of the plot (which isn’t revealed at the end, so you know, spoilers). It then jumps back in time and we quickly learn that the female protagonist is actually just one of many clones (over 114, apparently).
While it doesn’t outright say it, I assume that these clones are supposedly created by some shady government corporation, probably the same organisation who has hired this private security force, these… SS dudes (for lack of a better phrase) to track the clone(s) and her helper down. Man, this all sounds like a mix of the Synthetic plotlines from Fallout 4 and The Island so far.
Anyway, about halfway through the clip, the man and woman meet on a rooftop. The clone hands the man this orange “stone” (which she pulls out of her mouth, mind you) but is quickly hauled away by the SS dudes (which is the name I’m gonna stick them with from now on) and they promptly beat our male hero and leave him bloodied and bruised. I mean, a slap on the wrist and a finger wag probably isn’t gonna deter his thoughtcrime and dissenting actions, and would probably look bad to their superiors.
In any case, I suspect this rooftop meeting is the very first time that the leads encounter one another, and of course, the man holds onto that orange rock thing (shown below) throughout his swift but harsh beating.
So, our male lead heads on home and oh look, another clone is already waiting for him in his apartment. He takes that orange stone and does some important science stuff to it in his apartment and creates this weird liquid from the stone, the purpose behind which isn’t really explained either. You may start to notice a trend of ambiguity in this film clip. But oh no, guess who has followed him all the way home? That’s right, it’s two of those SS dudes!
Our heroes just manage to escape and they leg it out of the city, through some woods (remember the start of the clip?), and along a picturesque shoreline, where this supposed final clone suddenly stops and collapses to the ground in a seizure. Why? I haven’t the foggiest!
But before our old mate can get to her in time and use that orange stone liquid to try and save her(?), he’s dragged away by our friendly neighbourhood SS dude bros, one of them crushes the vial full of orange, reddish liquid, and the song and the music video come to an end.
So basically, the little guy loses and the corporations win. Cheery stuff!
Now, one thing that really stands out in both the narrative and performance shots are these giant black columns, which look similar to the monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey. They can be seen in the background in the “nature” scenes in which there aren’t any other human landmarks around, and their inclusion must be of some importance to this world and the overarching narrative. Hell, the last scene shown is an ominous shot of one of these “monoliths”.
Whatever their purpose, my greatest concern here is whether or not the narrative displayed here will be followed up in a future film clip. I really hope it is, as I’m very intrigued to see where this plot could go, as I love it when bands focus on telling different narratives in their videos, the kind that one may not have initially envisioned when first hearing the song. This could very well be the start of a great series of videos.
Alas, I have reservations that this will be continued at all, as not much in the way of plot and world-building was really established here to begin with, and from what I’ve seen, the band hasn’t spoken about any overreaching story running through their new record.
So apart from the ethical dilemma of cloning and potential slavery, why the tried and failed rescue attempts of this female clone and why does our male lead persist? Is he the good guy or the bad guy? Also, who are the totalitarian police force that tracks her and the male protagonist down and who exactly is the corporation and/or government pulling their strings? And again, what the fuck is up with those damn columns showing up in the background? So. Many. Questions!
Of course, art such as this is always subjective and I’m sure that many other people have their own interpretations of this, but come on, give me something to work with here! If it turns out that there’s no real story or reason here, then the band and the director/producer(s) have just done something for the sheer bloody sake of it and have created something that is all style and no substance. If that’s the case, I’ll just end up looking like a complete wanker for writing all of this!
Honestly, I do have a sneaking suspicion that I’ve just wasted precious minutes of my life writing all this. Anyway, check out the music video below and try and make some sense of it for yourself.
It’s a really well-shot video, nonetheless.