Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far 13 Cult Films About Cults 13 Cult Films About Cults The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Watch: Spike Jonze Directed Video For Arcade Fire's 'The Suburbs'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 19, 2010 at 1:57AM

After a rather bombastic, portentous second album, "Neon Bible," indie-rock favorites Arcade Fire came back in force this year with the excellent "The Suburbs," a near-concept record that paired the band's usual apocalyptic themes with images from suburban life. It sounds like it shouldn't work, but it's one of the strongest records of the year, and is likely to top a lot of critics' polls by the end of December.
1


After a rather bombastic, portentous second album, "Neon Bible," indie-rock favorites Arcade Fire came back in force this year with the excellent "The Suburbs," a near-concept record that paired the band's usual apocalyptic themes with images from suburban life. It sounds like it shouldn't work, but it's one of the strongest records of the year, and is likely to top a lot of critics' polls by the end of December.

Yet, despite the strong visual element to their albums and artwork, the band have had an uneasy relationship with the video elements to their work in the past. This time round, however, they've embraced it, working with Terry Gilliam on a webcast live show, and producing the extraordinary interactive video for the album's "We Used To Wait," one of the more interesting promotional gambits of the year (check it out here, if you haven't already -- although note, you'll need Google Chrome to make it work). And now, the band continue their dazzling run with "The Suburbs," a video directed by Spike Jonze that had been rumored since last spring.

The band's frontman Win Butler told Pitchfork in August that the clip was "a short film" rather than a video, "a science-fiction B-movie companion piece for the record. Basically we played Spike some music from the album and the first images that came to his mind had the same feeling as this idea for a science fiction film I had when I was younger. My brother and I and Spike wrote it together, which was really fun -- it was like total amateur hour. We shot it in Austin and a lot of kids are in the film, and it was great just hanging out with these 15-year-olds for a week."

The video finally debuted on the band's official site last night, and it's much as promised -- even if we'd say that the clip, set to the title track to the record, was as much a music video as short film. The clip follows a group of suburban teenagers, acting much as suburban teenagers do, against the background of a sinister, far-off war that comes closer and closer as the film goes on.

There are echoes of "Red Dawn" and Larry Clark's "Kids," but more importantly, real-world situations. This is easily the most political thing Jonze has ever made, and it's hard to watch the film without drawing parallels to, say, Northern Ireland, Rwanda and Bosnia. We've got to admit, we're a little underwhelmed on first watch -- it seems to be a little too on-the-nose in its reflections on the album's themes -- but as ever, it's beautifully shot and performed, and makes us as eager as ever to see something more substantial from the director, who hasn't yet announced a feature follow-up to his astonishing, "Where The Wild Things Are."










This article is related to: Musicians, Spike Jonze, Arcade Fire


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates