I guess it is true what they say, that everyone loves a happy ending. I have to admit that even though I like shows and movies with ambiguous, or sometimes even unhappy endings, I still can’t resist the lure of a world where everyone’s story turns out OK. It just makes me feel good. This week’s subject, the animated video for “I’ll Go Crazy if I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight,” has just such a happy ending, where everyone gets what they need and the world looks a little brighter than when the video began.
The first frame of the video, before the music even comes in, shows the equal sign that was the symbol for the No Line on the Horizon album. Simultaneous to the start of the music, we then see several more rectangles appear, representing city buildings. A train appears, and one of the train’s passengers is a child whose phone is ringing with a call from their mom. It appears that the child is a runaway, while the mother is a nurse who is at the end of her rope. The nurse ignores a call from one of her patients and eventually walks out of the hospital, determined to find her missing child. In another scene, a young woman packs her bags and leaves her partner, who sits passed out in a chair. The rain starts to pour down on a homeless man who appears to have no place to go. Yet another character is soon introduced, a little girl whose dog is lost. She uses a copy machine to print out posters of her missing dog, then plasters the posters up all over town, including over some posters which advertise U2. This is a cute nod to the early days of the band, as Bono has often spoken of how the members of U2 used to glue their posters over those for other bands. We then see the missing dog, who happens upon the homeless man from the prior scene. The video goes on to detail how these characters all influence each other’s lives, and in the end, everybody gets what they need the most.
This is the second animated video in U2’s videography, and it must be said that I quite like the art in this video. As simple as the art is, all of the characters seem to live and breathe naturally in the world that they inhabit. The characters all seem real and the story hits all the right notes, feeling hopeless and melancholy at times and optimistic at others. While this is not the best video that U2 has ever produced, overall it is very successful, as it evokes lots of emotion in the viewer and leaves them feeling upbeat and hopeful at the end. Kudos to Irish director David O’Reilly who successfully creates a little world for our imaginations and then ends things successfully, on a happy note.
Next week, we will be looking at the alternate video for this song. In the meantime, please feel free to leave comments below with your thoughts on this video.
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