Michael Penn: Try (1997)

Video   |    |  Short, Music


Michael Penn: Try (1997) Poster

Music video for Michael Penn's 'Try', shot by Paul Thomas Anderson and other cast and crew from 'Boogie Nights' in a single take in the longest hall-way in North America.


6.8/10
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28 October 2018 | Rodrigo_Amaro
8
| A small yet good exercise to follow P.T. Anderson's artistic choices
Clips doesn't necessarily need big bidgets or so whimsical concepts to grab an audience's attention; sometimes the apparently simple things will provide for you just as much a spectacular mixture of storytelling with music. It's what you do with the simplicity that counts most and better. Here you have Paul Thomas Anderson at the height of his "Boogie Nights" fame directing a music video that presents his trade-mark camera moves and cinematography known in that movie and later amplified in "Magnolia" in the following year. I was brought to this clip once you saw P.T. Anderson's name attached to it - "Save Me" by Aimee Mann was great so why not giving it a try to this one. "Michael Penn: Try" is a fascinating way to know more about how Anderson uses of the environment surrounding him to create a work worthy of praise and some awe.

The concept might seem simple, but the presentation is not. Singer Penn walks around what appears to be the longest hallway ever built, performing the song while extras appear here and there to alter his way, or style and/or to help with his performance, such as in the case of the character played by Philip Seymour Hoffman who provides a guitar and microphones to the leading man. And there's even a reference to the classic 'They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" with the exhausted dance marathon competitors. It all feels like it's done in one-take only but there are cuts - you just have to be keen to find them. It's all Anderson's moving style, your head and mind must follow the apparent mess going around Penn while he makes way through the crowd going to...where, anyway? I was reminded of "Bitter Sweet Symphony" in parts,though it never reaches the same level of geniality. The use of lighting and colors, all distinctive of his work with Robert Elswit made me feel as if watching a fun short film by Anderson that left me intrigued, excited and what mattered the most was that I was hooked to the song. If it wasn't for the video, it'd never be part of my playlist. Not sure exactly if the lyrics fit the images that come along, it may work for some, but there's something deeper in there for each one to find it. Thumbs up! 8/10

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