Nothing gets people talking like a Kanye West movie
October 26th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

Nothing gets people talking like a Kanye West movie

If you haven’t yet viewed the entirety of Kanye West’s “Runaway,” it’s likely that you’ve been avoiding it since the film's premiere on Saturday.

Between the speculation on his inspiration and what the metaphors reveal to the positive response that’s accumulating for model Selita Ebanks, West’s work – quite similar to about everything else he does – has been difficult to ignore.

But in the spirit of keeping even the least pop culture savvy among you informed, here’s a brief rundown of critical reactions to West’s 34-minute opus in which Ebanks, as a superhumanly beautiful phoenix, falls from the sky and then in love with West, only to discover that she must burn and return to her world. (You can watch the video here.)

U.K. newspaper The Guardian deems the piece as “ridiculous, ostentatious and egotistical,” but adds, “that's what West is here for. If he wants to show off his love of Matisse-style visuals, Jacko and Bon Iver, then what's the harm?”

While the Boston Herald also didn't find any harm done with West's work, the reviewer believes the piece, as a whole, was lacking. “It may make sense in Kanye’s mind, but ‘Runaway' doesn’t add up to compelling viewing,” the Herald says. “Judged in pieces, there are more than a few sparkling moments…. But the mood is ruined by the wooden dialogue (written by Hype Williams, a director not exactly known for his subtle touch) and too many slow-motion explosions.”

Forbes, meanwhile, took a different approach, and recognized how this film – love it or hate it – will keep audiences ready and waiting for West’s forthcoming album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

“It’s easy to digest the piece as a story about his talent- crashing in, being beautiful, trying to silence the noise while being loud. In metaphor, the film talks back to the media, and everyone that wanted to have a voice, after berating Kanye for interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at MTV’s Video Music Awards last year,” the Forbes reviewer notes. “Like the dinner scene in ‘Runaway,’ he acknowledges the conversation, turns his back on it, and celebrates himself and his phoenix. That’s what rock stars do…. What we are witnessing, is a lesson in sustainable branding.”

Lastly, Entertainment Weekly’s review advises the viewer eager to write off "Runaway" to think twice.

“Take it as a metaphor for how West feels about the acceptance of not necessarily his music, but his public behavior (epitomized by the West-Taylor Swift VMA moment,) and you probably wouldn't be wrong,” EW’s reviewer writes. “Given how controversial West's every artistic gesture seems to have become, I have a feeling we'll be in for a round of dismissals of ‘Runaway’ as a pretentious piece. Instead, it deserves to be seen as a carefully modulated art-film made by a man on a mission.”

Filed under: Kanye West • Music • television

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Pete

    OMG! wow I love Kayne and i think he is an amazing artist! Great blog, too.

    February 19, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. Erin

    omg look at him leaving set!

    October 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TI

    So this gorgeous phoenix comes down from earth, and, out of EVERYONE in the world she falls in love with Kanye (is there really anything to love?) and then dreads the fact that she must leave him forever?

    Yeah, his ego doesn't run his life at all. this POS needs to go away!

    October 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sonylegend

    KANYE WEST sold out and thats why they killed his mother for talking back to the system when he said "George Bush does not care about white people"..... ..... THE LEGEND EXPOSES THEM ALL....

    October 26, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Karpetheday

    Like any work of art, every one is left with their own interpretation. Here is mine:

    October 26, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ksf

    Lets face it we have the Kayne West's of the world, just like in the past were the Archie Bunkers of the world. As different as they are as educated people we can view open mindedly.

    October 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ramsey

    Ive never seen a video like this before, EVER. Dont be afraid to actually accept that its truly an amazing piece of art.

    October 26, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. IG frum Cali

    Well haven't seen it #1, but I'm intrigued...kanye is def. In my opinion a boundary breaker..when hip hop was so bland he inspired the head he is lost. However you define lost go ahead I say that because its like he went to the ledge, looked over to see how far down it was and fell on accident...and now since people still do what he wants them to do (in all aspects of his life/world) he trapped inside his own "dark twisted fantasy" that ultimately he wants to get out of but can't! Hope fully the intense EGO hes dealing with dosent end in suicide.

    October 26, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. kiki

    Kanye West is very talented but, I think he can be a little too full of himself at times.

    October 26, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. SKY


    October 26, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • TI

      Demons have a lot better things to do with their time, like making people believe in a white bearded man up in the clouds. They'll let Kanye alone, and then laugh when his ego goes on another tantrum and blows up in his face. 🙂

      October 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joel3

      Yes, you're right SKY. But there are not many people, especially young people, who were taught to recognize these things. Scary, I know.

      October 28, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |

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