Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Spike Jonze's new video for Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs": Darkness on the edge of the cul-de-sac

The suburbs—they’re like prison cells with shag carpeting, man, patrolled by the jackbooted thugs of conformity, and no one makes it out alive without a fight. That familiar melodrama of suburban youth gets a literal translation in Spike Jonze’s new video for Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs,” which seems to be part of the director’s long-promised “science-fiction B-movie companion piece” that he was supposedly working on with the band in Austin. Here things start off idyllic enough, with a group of goofy kids engaging in various goofy kid things—riding their bikes around the cul-de-sac, shooting air rifles, making out under the freeway overpass—but soon darkness encroaches, with the peaceful streets slowly invaded by heavy artillery-toting police and National Guard-types and everything taking on a sinister, paranoid tone that ends with a gloomy house party and a sudden, savage beating. This video is a bit more Larry Clark than Spike Jonze—and other than a quick shot of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne dressed in cop uniforms, Arcade Fire doesn’t even appear—but it’s an intriguing glimpse of whatever it is they were doing earlier this year. Anyway, the ‘burbs, man. They’ll kill you. Let’s go do some whip-its.


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