Digital Prospector: British fright flick. Paul Thomas Anderson does Fiona Apple. NYC Ballet on the roof.

Plus, Franz Ferdinand's "Right Action" proves that the music video genre is still fresh after 30 years.
Plus, Franz Ferdinand's "Right Action" proves that the music video genre is still fresh after 30 years.

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Kill List
Fright fans looking for something truly nerve-rattling this Halloween should approach Kill List with extreme caution. Sleep will not come easy after watching this singularly chilling and bewildering British flick (available with a Netflix Play Instantly account). What begins in a paranoid atmosphere of domestic strife ends with an all out freak show finale. The climax is so unexpectedly shocking it requires a period of calm, post-film reflection in order to collect your thoughts. Only then can you retrace the movie’s narrative spiral with its hints of satanic worship, gruesome assassinations and diabolical human sacrifice. Director Ben Wheatley’s sole purpose is to run his audience through a ringer of mounting and inescapable terror. The final scene, the corker that will disturb you for days, is eerie and repellent. And you can’t help but realize, with a kind of numb admiration, that Wheatley knew exactly where he was going all along.

New Beginnings by the NYC Ballet
A sunrise greets two dancers atop a New York skyscraper in this sublime paean to rebirth. Staged and shot in one unbroken take, a man and woman from the NYC ballet pas de deux to Christopher Wheeldon's "After the Rain.” The rooftop stage is 4 WTC, part of the new World Trade Center Complex. The limpid dance is both calming and soaring. A slight wind buffets the couple, the skyline twinkles in the distance, the city that never sleeps hums all around. It is a tranquil commemoration of new dawns to come, but especially poignant as the performance took place 12 years and a day after 9/11.

Franz Ferdinand/Right Action
This music video is so visually busy you may have trouble picking up the beat, but its savvy graphic verve is pretty infectious. By employing the crisp typeface and infographic color schemes — a turntable of retro greens, blues and oranges — and the wry commentary of an Adbusters campaign, the video's flippy-floppy vibe bounces off the screen. It’s reminiscent of MTV-era Talking Heads, simply conceived and inventively visualized, and you have to wonder, with some amazement, how the music video still manages to remain fresh and vibrant after more than 30 years.  

Fiona Apple/Hot Knife
Auteurist director Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master, There Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights) takes a more minimalist approach to this video for Fiona Apple’s "Hot Knife." He slices the frame into a triptych for the song’s chorus, with Apple and her sister, Maude Maggart, facing each other in profile, separated by a middle plane that features Apple pounding away on a kettle drum. The rest of the video is chiaroscuro close-ups of Apple’s exemplary bone structure. It’s the filmmaker’s first music video in 11 years, and the fifth he has made for Apple, his former lover. They were the “It Couple” in the late ‘90s, and you can see how intensely their creative and sexual energies burned in the earlier videos. Anderson’s classical gimmick-free technique captures with direct force Apple’s own percussive insistence on artistic integrity.

For more nuggets from the Digital Prospector, go here.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson is a filmmaker, film critic and indie radio deejay. He enjoys strong coffee, red wine, IPAs and his wife and grown children. He is comfortable with the fact he will never be rich, but grows petulant if he thinks too much about it.