Runaway is the debut short film by rapper Kanye West which aired on MTV last week with mixed reviews from the critics. With all the controversy over it, I had to find out for myself what all the fuss was about. This forty minute “noir” short film depicts Mr. West and a fallen phoenix in the shape of a scantily-clad bird lady. Or in his own words, ‘’It’s the story of a phoenix fallen to Earth, and I make her my girlfriend, and people discriminate against her and eventually she has to burn herself alive and go back to her world’’.
The fact that Kanye doesn’t even need to woo this phoenix girl to make her his girlfriend is typical of the pompous Mr. West. It’s safe to say his ego is stamped all over this film. In saying that, the film is shot beautifully in the woods of Prague and the fashion, inspired by Karl Lagerfeld is really striking. Dedications can also be seen throughout, from the papier-mâché bust of Michael Jackson to the sampling of a Bon Iver song at the end of the film.
The soundtrack to the film is first-class, with the majority of the songs from his upcoming album Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, one of my favourites being ‘All of the Lights’, however there are some exceptions. The British rap at the beginning by American diva rapper Nicki Minaj is just plain crap. Why the British accent Kanye? She clearly can’t pull it off! In fact, some of the highest rated comments on YouTube below the film are about how terrible the accent is.
It’s a strange film, but according to model Selita Ebanks, who co-stars in the film, it has a strong moral message about how ‘’the world doesn’t accept, or they try to change, what is different, instead of trying to understand it.’’
In archetypal Kanye form, there are subtle digs throughout. The first spoken line in the film ‘’Don’t believe what you hear on the news’’, relates to the ridiculously blown-up Taylor Swift incident at the 2009 VMA’s where he stormed the stage during Taylor’s speech.
Although he has since apologised for the incident, I really got the feeling he only did so in order to keep the country-music rednecks happy. At times Runaway feels like a drawn out music video because of the lack of dialogue. The songs seem to take centre stage rather than the plot. It feels like listening to his album while watching random events on the screen.
If you’ve got half an hour to kill, it’s worth Youtube-ing just to say that you’ve watched it. But be warned, it is really odd. In the realm of directing and music, Kanye is hot stuff right now. As an actor and scriptwriter, not so much.
2½ stars out of 5.