The music video for "Rhythm Nation" was directed by Dominic Sena, serving as the final inclusion in Jackson's long-form Rhythm Nation 1814 film. It portrays rapid choreography within a "...
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War veteran and sharpshooter Johnny "Two-Guns" Trale returns home from Afghanistan to find that his wife and daughter have vanished without a trace - forcing him to take a job as an enforcer for a corrupt music mogul in an effort to fund his search efforts to find his family.
The music video for "Rhythm Nation" was directed by Dominic Sena, serving as the final inclusion in Jackson's long-form Rhythm Nation 1814 film. It portrays rapid choreography within a "post-apocalyptic" warehouse setting, with Jackson and her dancers adorned in unisex military attire. It was filmed in black-and-white to portray the song's theme of racial harmony. Jackson's record label attempted to persuade her against filming the video, but upon her insistence it became "the most far-reaching single project the company has ever attempted." Written by
Like a sepia-toned hybrid of BLADE RUNNER and a Depression Era gangster film, this was the companion video to Janet's chart-busting album of the same name. Up until this point, the videos she had done for her songs had been strictly of the live concert footage/single-concept-per-song variety, all nicely but pretty routinely choreographed and shot to be MTV-friendly. However, once big brother Michael raised the bar with THRILLER, everyone began brainstorming and producing full-length vids to go with their albums to varying degrees of success. This was Janet's response, cooked up with assistance from co-producer/partner/husband Rene Elizondo and well-known vid director Dominic Sena, (KALIFORNIA).
With comic-book simplicity, the video intercuts between Janet interacting and hanging out with her friends, and two street musicians who have different ideas about which roads to take, to achieve their ultimate goal of snagging a record deal. When the headstrong, more independent of the duo insists on pursuing the fast track, the results are predictably tragic. On the run from approaching darkness, looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, what he finds is Janet and Company, who seemed to have mobilized into some kind of superhero unit, whose special powers, one would assume, are positivity and unity delivered through music and whipcrack-precise dance moves, dressed in costumes that can only be described as John Phillip Souza-wear, by way of Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Because there isn't a truly cohesive storyline that can be detected, NATION suffers by comparison with THRILLER, which captured the pop zeitgeist of Michael's performance magic with disarming ease. But it is a decent effort all the way round, and you've got to like a project such as this that does present a positive message about avoiding drugs, crime and violence, offering music and friendship as viable alternatives instead.
The club sequences are the strongest points here, and of course those great songs that Janet co-wrote and produced with Flyte Time Funkmeisters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Worth a look to see how well Little Sis picked up the gauntlet flung down by her brother in the long-form video arena. A lot of stars would not fare as well, (example: Mick Jagger's "Running Out Of Luck.")
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