Video Review: Elle King “Under The Influence”

A puppet version of Elle King and her boyfriend lie in bed. She stares up at the sky and then turns her head towards him. Using his spy camera, Mephistonopolos Rex a.k.a. Ruby Eye watches them. A title card introduces him and shows that he has weapons of mass destruction.

She stands by the window and looks outside, suspecting someone is watching her. She looks to her boyfriend, wondering if he’s in on it. Now awake, his expression is cold and stern. She climbs on top of him in the bed and tears out the phone cord. They have sex.

While driving, she zeroes in on the sports car behind her. She hits a button and lasers shoot out of the tail lights, causing an explosion. However, it only killed the person inside. The car careens down on the mountain, turning into a ball of fire.

Later on the boat, another boat speeds up to her and nearly t-bones her in the middle of the ocean. She steers herself away. She follows behind him and then causes it topple over.

As a light falls, she observes with her binoculars the other mountain and believes she has found her enemy. With her lighter, she melts an entrance of the ice cave. She enters she sees if there another way through the mountains. Seeing a shadow through the ice, she does a double take. A muscle man then appears behind her and flexes his muscle. She puts her arms up but he punches her twice. When she falls, she is able to hit him in the face. It startles him for a moment but once she gets up back up, he has gathered his bearings. He holds on to her arm with a firm grip but she is able to get up on the ground with a self-defense move she learned.

Hearing footsteps, she turns around and sees her boyfriend putting a gun to her head. She raises her arms up in the air and surrenders. By gunpoint, he directs where to go. He leads her to Ruby Eye’s lair, which is furnished with strobe lights and then on the other side of the room, there is a dining table with a candelabra.

On the balcony, Ruby Eye waddles to the edge. Now on the stairs, she sees him point to the fish and she shakes her head. One of Ruby Eye’s henchmen takes them away. Tied up together with chains, she and her boyfriend slowly drop into the bottom to be fed to the fishes. She is able to free herself and loosen the chain. Her boyfriend falls into the water. She watches as a shark eats him, flashing a burst of red in the water. The shark then nibbles on his arm while another shark fights the other for his head. Ruby Eye can’t look. She climbs back up and goes into his control room. She presses a button, launching an atomic missile. One by one, the strobe lights explode into flames. Ruby Eye shouts “no, no, no.” Pressing a button on the handlebar attached to her lip, she flies above. His lair is engulfed in fire. Ruby Eye waddles backwards, trying to avoid the flames. One of the strobe lights drops on Ruby Eye, killing him instantly. The mountain spits out flame after flame while she flies.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

The music video is creative tour de force, likely inspired by Charlie Kaufman’s 2015 film “Anomalisa.” Like the movie, it’s either love or hate.

The action story allows for a wide scope: water, road and mountains. But it makes the story itself thin, becoming another heroic story of being an evil mastermind. There are still character moments, though. However, the subtle theme of secrets plays out, as Elle King believes her boyfriend has betrayed her. In order to deflect his attention, she has sex with him. There’s another brief moment between them when she gives in to him once he has caught her. When the criminal mastermind decides to kill them both, she lets him die, knowing he was willing to do the same hours earlier. But why did the evil mastermind want to kill both of them? The boyfriend did his job. It’s a distracting plothole that needed some story in order to fully work. It’s the dynamic between her and her boyfriend that is the most interesting, even though it’s not explored enough.

The dynamic wouldn’t be possible without the time and effort of the talented artists behind the project, painting the expression on the puppets’ faces with precise detail and moving the puppets’ strings. A lot of hard work was involved and there is hardly any recognition at all for it.

     Director: Lior Molcho  Year: 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4mTrknta40

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