For some reason I have a weakness for hypnotic techno-pop, which maybe you don’t share, on top of which a video of a bunch of scruffy skateboarders doing their thing in slow motion might not seem, at first blush, worth much of your time, but wait for it; this was directed by the great Spike Jonze, whose work over the years on music videos has been fascinating, funny, innovative, and sometimes downright ground-breakingly visionary. This one starts slowly, teasingly, with a bunch of shots of various guys cruising along right up to the point of performing some sort of stunt, then cutting away. Just before each shot ends you can see the rider spooling himself up, tensing, crouching, getting ready to spring upwards to pull the big move, but we’re left in suspense until, at about the mid-point, the camera doesn’t cut away, and dude, after executing a spectacular leap down a flight of stairs, spinning the board beneath his feet in mid-air as he plummets, skates his ass straight through what seems to be a concrete wall. It gets more, er, explosive from there, as each of the previous shots is completed and we get to see the stunts, brilliantly performed. The juxtaposition of the rhythmically low-key, trance-like audio with the vivid pyrotechnics, as these professional boarders seem close to getting themselves killed amid action movie-style blasts of fire and shrapnel, is somehow aesthetically perfect, and thoroughly fascinating – in a way, the movement of these guys through the slow motion explosions is just as mesmerizing as the music.
Musically, this reminds me a bit of U2’s Bad, off Unforgettable Fire. I love the opening verse, as the singer describes disappointment upon actually approaching the gateway to the afterlife:
Where’s the Seraphim?
Where’s the money that we made?
Where’s the open gate?
Where’s the fortune that we saved?
The footage is distilled from the movie Fully Flared, also directed by Jonze (in collaboration withTy Evans), documenting the unparalleled prowess of the Lakai skateboarding team.