If you ever had any doubts about Kanye West's status as a pop art icon, Runaway should help nullify them. West is the Michael Jackson of our generation -- an imaginative soul unafraid to color outside the strictures of his art, even if it means taking a few risks. After all, you don't get to be successful without taking well-calculated risks.
Runaway is the wildly ambitious work bigwigs are no longer hungry to bother with. It narrates a virtually dialogue-free tale of Yeezy's rise to fame and eventual fall from glory. Instead of words, Kanye opts for symbols. For instance, his career is symbolized by a Phoenix (portrayed by the gorgeous Victoria's Secret model Selita Ebanks).
Selita Ebanks is solid in her role as a Phoenix lost in a foreign world. Kanye attempts to guide her without altering her composition. "The first rule in this world," he warns her, "is: Don't pay attention to anything you see in the news." This is clearly an approach he employed to brush off mud-slingers in the aftermath of Swift-gate.
Later, we see Ye and his Phoenix at an all-black dinner catered by white servers. The Phoenix struggles to fit in. At some point, a male diner offers a backhanded compliment. Kanye leaves the table and bursts into a performance of "Runaway": "Let's have a toast for the douchebags."
Runaway doubles as a preview of Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Songs showcased throughout the 35-minute film include "POWER," "All of the Lights," and the RZA-produced title track "Dark Fantasy." (See full playlist below)
West shines as a director in Runaway. Aside from the occasional poor lighting and awkward transitions, the film delivers. He sets each scene against a different color palette depending on the mood or emotion -- black for the Michael Jackson tribute; white and teal for the dinner party.
His acting, while not exactly Oscar-worthy, isn't too shabby. Anyone who's ever tried sprinting full speed in loafers will find the final sequence endearing.
Somewhere in the wild, a bird is stepping gingerly toward a light and a certain pop icon is hiding in the bushes, ready to capture it all on camera. Or is that Kanye singing "Dark Fantasy"? Way to add another, um, feather to your hat, Mr. West.Runaway Playlist
- "Dark Fantasy"
- "All of the Lights"
- "Devil in a New Dress"
- "Play the Game"
- "Lost in the World"