06 August 2008
Destination Anywhere, dir. Mark Pellington (1997)
This was a great revisit for the night. It's still got the same kick it had when it came out. I was a bit infatuated with it when it was released. I'd never seen anything like it before -- a short film based on an album, starring the artist, and all that. It's a gorgeous piece of work, artistically stunning and really kinda powerful in its way.
It looks so good because of Mark Pellington who shoots dirty backstreets like they're the entrance to a child's birthday party. The grit and grime of Chelsea nights is in full view, but it's colourful and vibrant. Pellington did the same thing in Bruce's "Lonesome Day" video, making the ripped up, black heart of Asbury Park a rainbow again. I don't know how he does it, but especially here it adds a strange contrast to the work; these awful things going on with this backdrop of colour.
The gist is this: Jon and Janey are falling apart following the hit and run death of their little daughter. He runs off on benders leaving her alone to work long hours and drink herself insane. The movie begins with Jon returning home after one of those benders. We come to know straight away why he runs away -- Janey is draining, killing her pain and taking it all out on everyone else. Jon runs again. He gets advice from his friends, and winds up on yet another night away involving drink and strippers. He's killing the pain in his way, and we know it's not working. So, the movie is about how these two reconnect.
Meanwhile, a baby is dumped in the trash. Janey works at the hospital where the baby is being kept. And she makes a decision to finally be free of her pain that is tragic and horrifying, but strangely perfect for this couple.
It's a heavy film, full of lost-soul imagery and death, and it offers redemption to its characters in difficult ways. I think it's really brave. Jon and Demi are just so great, too.