The Unkut Film Critic Reviews Kanye West’s Runaway
Tuesday November 09th 2010,
Filed under: Not Your Average,Reviews,Shots Fired,Sizzle-chest,Unkut Theatre,Video Clips
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Highly esteem film critic Rodger Tossenpot just submitted his thoughts on Kanye’s latest piece of ‘creative jeanious [sic].

No one man should have this much Power. The power to make me weep at the frailty of the human condition, laugh at our faults and marvel at the beauty of Great Art. Many dismissed the idea of Mr. West directing a short film as self-indulgent navel gazing, but only because haven’t experienced the majesty of his vision. Combining the story-telling prowess of the Brothers Grimm with the gritty edge of a young Scorsese, Mr. West has delivered our generation’s Citizen Kane via this 35 minute Rap Opera.

Opening with a shot of our hero running along a road through an empty forest, it immediately speaks to the isolation that our culture of faux-celebrity worship and gadget fetishism has produced, as if Kanye is attempting to out-run his own personal demons while at the same time saving humanity from it’s own worst excesses. Suddenly he’s piloting a sleek sports car through the same environment, a symbol for controlling one’s own destiny perhaps? Then an explosion from the heavens and we hear the sound of screeching tires and broken glass. What tragedy had befallen our hero so early in the piece? Not a meteor, dear friends, but a magnificent winged women has fallen to earth. A young fawn watches on silently, representing the innocence of untainted youth as Kanye carries the unconscious feathered belle to safety.

Back in the safety of our hero’s country mansion, we witness a well-aimed barb at the media before this alien creature explores the wonders of nature. The near-naked form of this bird woman is a statement about the exploitation of the female form on modern Western culture – compelling the eye to gaze upon her form while at the same time chastising us for voyeurism. It’s not immediately explained why the garden contains a deer, a sheep and some wild turkey’s, but the symbolism is hard to ignore. The deer has long been a fixture in American storytelling, encompassing the naive, the pure and the holy, while the sheep is a comment about the mindless copy-cat syndrome that seems to consume all facets of Pop culture (and possibly even a cheeky nod towards the cloning of animals in food production, first pioneered with Dolly The Sheep). As for the turkey’s? Perhaps Kanye is letting us know that it’s always Thanksgiving at his table. Living la vida loca, indeed!

The seduction scene finds Mr. West serenading his guest with his drum machine, as he composes a chaotic symphony that seems to excite his feathered friend immensely. Then we cut to a new song, as the couple enjoy the splendors of a personal fireworks display, complete with a marching band and a float featuring an enormous P\papier-mâché tribute to Michael Jackson, obviously put together by some blind orphans. Is this Kanye’s way of passing the torch to himself, announcing that he is in fact our new King of Pop?

It’s the dinner party, however, that serves as the focal point for this feature. It points the finger at the vapidity of most social functions, and highlights the sense of alienation that all of us feel at one time or another when cast into alien surroundings. Why is the room now full of ballerina’s? Do these symbols of bourgeois excesses provide any deep symbolical significance? Or do we simply admire the contrast between the juxtaposed ballet and modern dance techniques, as Mr. West sings of ‘assholes’ and ‘douche bags’. I won’t spoil the end of this magnificent experience, suffice to say that we should all appreciate this visionary epic at least once a day. We are not worthy, sir.


23 Comments so far
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Guess thats Kanye’s attempt at… well i’m still not sure but i aint with it…guess that kills all the “Ye is bringin it back to the raw shit on this album” BS…we all know he’s pop.

Comment by Paul Kersey 11.09.10 @

lol..

my homie wrote a blog on this too http://thegoodassblog.tumblr.com/post/1429773929/good-ass-blogging-runaway

Comment by BR 11.09.10 @

Fuck Kanye.

Comment by Jaz 11.09.10 @

Please tell me this is satire because comparing this piece of shit to Citzen Kane by Orson Welles is a fucking joke. Welles revolutionized cinematography & film narrative.

Comment by leisureg 11.09.10 @

it seemed more like “i have a million dollars and I can make cliche art like black people wearing white clothes and then white people wearing black clothes”… than something with an amazing story to it. It was REAL expensive garbage.

Comment by cenzi 11.09.10 @

I’ll stick to Prince Paul’s “Thieves” as the best hiphop opera.

Comment by cenzi 11.09.10 @

Won’t even bother hitting play.

Comment by haroon 11.10.10 @

leisureg

isn’t it obvious that kanye is the orson welles of our generation?

Comment by liferscrew 11.10.10 @

Has anyone in so-called hip-hop seen “Killer of Sheep” besides Mos Def?

That’s as close as a black film director has gotten to “Citizen Kane,” so far. They’re not the same but Charles Burnett is himself a great artist.

Comment by Saratoga N. Blake 11.10.10 @

I just dont get what the hype about Kanye’s about.He’s at best mediocre with the lyrics and his prod. is ok but nothin i go crazy about.Am i missing something?

Comment by dj blendz 11.10.10 @

Dude can ryhme a lick.

Comment by Apeks 11.10.10 @

unfortunately, i cannot get back these 15mins (yeah, i really didn’t give a shit after that)

however, it was a joke from the beginning

horrible use of money

Comment by Audio Agent 11.10.10 @

still amazing to me how many hip-pop fans are swinging on ye’s nuts. one of the weakest rappers i’ve ever heard.

Comment by 4:20 11.11.10 @

fishsticks.

Comment by pr2 11.11.10 @

Yeah didn’t watch the video and don’t plan on it. Stick to music Ye. Tweet me when Ye comes out with his own chain of frozen yogurt parfait shops or new line of man bags. On second thought, don’t.

Comment by gstatty 11.11.10 @

That video was straight DOPE. I’m surprised it was even contemplated on this site. Don’t get me wrong I really appreciate UnKut and the lane it covers. But most of the heads here won’t admit how heavy this video is.

Kanye is most definetly a true representative of the culture. Pretty much like Bambaataa, Whodini, UTFO, De la, Tribe, Fugees, etc.; Groups and individuals that got their “Boom-Bap” on, but at the same time push the limits of what people think we are.

Comment by BKThoroughbred 11.11.10 @

YEA WHEN I THINK OF KANYE I SEE BAMBAATAA,WHODINI,UTFO,DE LA,TRIBE AND THE FUGEES.C’MON NOW…

QUIT DA BS

Comment by QUITDABS 11.12.10 @

BK’s got a point. And, I’m about to write a novel, I warn you now. But I encourage you to read because gems will be dropped.

I haven’t watched this and don’t really plan to unless I call into a ketamine hole or something, but there are two reasons why hip hop isn’t taken seriously as art and culture that never really get talked about.

One is that there aren’t enough older folks who are successful, erudite and respected who are WRITING about hip hop in a sophisticated and mature manner befitting a true pillar of American culture over the last 30 years. The reason why The Wall is often considered some sort of watershed moment in the cultural history of America as opposed to simply a well made musical project that was pretty dope to bump after dropping acid is because eloquent, studied people who grew up on it started writing about in a certain way as they became successful and were given a pulpit of sorts. This doesn’t really happen in hip hop. Even among our classics, we’ve barely evolved past, “Illmatic is dope; Nas was ill, son.”

This is why if you’re unfamiliar with rock and you’re just at some dude’s house and you hear a record that you don’t like, you think twice before blurting out, “yo, this shit is wack” because you’ll feel like a dick if “that shit” was the Rolling Stones. Meanwhile, any rap-hater will freely say, “this shit sucks” and not bother to pause and ask himself, “what if ‘this shit’ is Paid in Full?”

The second reason is what BK alludes to. The disease of “keeping it real” ensures that rap will remain largely a minstrel show no matter how successful it becomes as a corporate entity or how widely appealing it is. No other genre judges its artists more harshly for trying to push the art. No other art form insists that artists maintain their artistic persona at all times in their personal and professional, non-art-making life.

This is a huge reason why Jay-Z is so successful; he decided early on that he’s not going to act like a crack dealer when he gets interviewed by Barbara Walters. He’s going to speak insightfully and reflectively about himself as an artist and the art he makes. This kind of thing is necessary to advance artistic culture and prevent it from become tiresome and monolithic.

I’m not saying that where Kanye is trying to push hip hop is somewhere I want to see it go. But, it’s undeniable that – even if it is just out of the sheer misguided force a megalomania – he’s trying to push the boundaries. And, in that sense the comparisons to Bam, De La, and the like are totally warranted. Kanye is trying to be himself and by doing so forcing people to confront the identity of hip hop. That’s an admirable path even if you think that his product sucks.

Think about all the brilliant hip hop art that never gets created because the artists fear the public’s reaction. Think about how many people were so eager to write off Mos Def and Kweli as faggotty backpack rap. Really? Whatever you say – but Black on Both Sides contains some of the greatest hip hop ever made, IMO. Yet, at the same time, Mos Def exists as kind of a marginal figure in the narrow circumference of hip hop. Think about that for a second – here is a man who more knowledgeable and spent more time appreciating and living the culture than [insert "real rapper" du jour], and who also happens to be among the best on the planet at the actual craft of writing and performing raps, and because he dresses a little weird and also likes to fuck with rock and roll exists on almost a tangential plane to hip hop.

To be sure, when you experiment you will fail many times – probably more than you succeed. But, otherwise we don’t achieve much progress.

The boom bap that we love has been done before, extensively. And, there are precious few who today do it as well as those who epitomized the form. So, in a sense, if you’re not Sean Price, Diabolic, or Joell Ortiz, maybe you really shouldn’t be trying to do that, but instead searching for the new thing that you do well that Kool G Rap didn’t do, or can’t do. Fuck, that’s what Tribe did. G Rap can’t do People’s Instinctive shit. They made their own lane.

And, really, from a pure artistic level, that’s all Kanye is trying to do. You can hate Kanye, but you should respect his vision – just like you can dislike whatever new oddball shit MF Doom tries, but you have to respect his commitment to artistry. Hip hop needs more people who have an artistic vision like Kanye does. Hopefully, those people will have different visions though.

Comment by digglahhh 11.13.10 @

@DIGGLAHHH

SEE BUT THAT’S JUST IT.IN WHAT WAY,SHAPE OR FORM IS WHAT KANYE DOING REMOTELY PROGRESSIVELY “ARTISTIC” OR “VISIONARY”.I MEAN SURE PROBABLY IN HIS MIND(OR YOURS)HE’S “PUSHING HIP-HOP’S BOUNDARIES” BUT MANYOTHER PEOPLE AS A BUFOON WHO STEALS DRUMS KITS FROM BETTER PRODUCERS,PER HIS OWN ADMISSION.I DONT MIND A ARTIST PUSHING LIMITS(LIKE U SAID, MOS DEF OR A DOOM DEFINITELY DOES THAT)BUT SHIT GOTTA BE REAL WHEN U DO THAT,NOT ON NO PRETENTIOUS AND “LOOK AT ME, I AM SOOOO VISIONARY THAT I’LL HIRE A BUNCH OF WHITE GIRLS TO DANCE AROUND IN THEIR TUTUS AND THE MUSIC CRITICS WILL RESPECT MY ART” TYPE-OF SHIT, KNO WHAT I MEAN? KANYE JUST TRIES WAAAY TOO HARD TO BE SEEN AS “ARTISTIC” AS OPPOSE TO A MOS DEF WHO DOES WHAT HE DO NATURALLY W/OUT ALL THE WHINING LOL. HOPE U SEE MY POINT

PS ALL THEM CLASSIC ARTIST LIKE BAM, DE LA & TRIBE ALSO DID THEIR THING W/OUT ALL THE HYPE AND PRETENSE GARBAGE.THEY DID PRETTY GOOD FOR THEMSELVES TOO

Comment by QUITDABS 11.13.10 @

Co-signs Quit.

Comment by mercilesz 11.13.10 @

As a film, Runaway is absolutely horrible.

The vision is intriuging, but it falls so so flat. The acting, the scenes and the aesthics are so disconnected and poorly communicated that I lost any respect for the reviewer when he compared Runaway to Scorcese and Wells.

Are you out of your fucking mind? Do you even know what makes those two filmmakers so reveered and respected? Why they’re influential at all?

I can respect Ye’s attempt to take hiphop and art in general in a different direction. I don’t knock him for trying something different, I love that he did. My problem is that as a short film, Runaway is amatuer and weak.

He should have codirected this, or worked as a coedirector/director on a different project BEFORE attempting this in my oppinion.

The grandiose ambtion crumbles under his inexperience.

The people praising Runaway as a film have no fucking idea what they’re talking about…prob ye nut huggers.

All this coming from a fan/filmmaker.

Comment by Reckful 11.15.10 @

I absolutely co-sign Reckful’s comments. The Runaway short film is amateurish. Kanye seems to equate different with good. What he’s done with this film is just done bad differently.

Comment by PaulSKI 11.21.10 @

anything I could say has already been said (alot of good points made). That in mind, I didn’t really enjoy the video, then again I’m biased due to my hate for Kanyes music. And who is ‘Roger Tossenpot’? That has to be a joke name, right? This review toes the line between serious and tounge in cheek.

Comment by Crisis 11.21.10 @



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