Thursday, November 6, 2014

Batman and Bourne: Identity Struggles Parallel to Goon Squad

     Our recent class music video project resulted in a lot of fantastic products; from original songs to totally wacky and Bohemian videos, no-one disappointed in their finished piece of work. Our group chose to use the song "Lost in the World" by Kanye West. Mr. West may be a jackass, but he is a musical genius. This song, from his "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," deals with assimilation in a new setting. On a very superficial level, it is about moving to a new city, however with some digging, its true meaning is revealed; the song is about identity and self discovery. It deals with the crafting of false identity, intentional or not, and the implications that this "mask" has.
     The story that must fit this message was "A to B." In this chapter, Bennie and his family locate to the suburbs. While Bennie has trouble putting up the facade needed to fit in, his wife does not. She whole- heartedly embodies the country club values cultivated by her new life, losing her true identity to a newly formulated personality. Our video sought to expand on the identity crisis theme; to show how people's representations of themselves obscured their reality, we chose the Bourne and Batman movies. Jason Bourne is a CIA agent suffering from memory loss, quite literally "lost in the world." He does not know anything about his past, his relatives, or even his own name. He has no identity except the one that is created through his proceeding actions, an identity that is surely far from his past self.
     The Batman series deals with a much more voluntary instance of false identity; Bruce Wayne hides his identity as he masquerades as Batman, a vigilante super hero saving his crime- ridden city. This connection is more complex. Is Bruce more true to himself when he is in his business suit or his mask and body armor? By disguising himself, is he able to get closer to his true identity through anonymity, or is "Batman" a far cry from who Bruce really is? While Bourne presented a linear and sensible connection to "A to B," the Batman films parallel this earlier connection while raising questions of their own, furthering the complexity of the ideas presented in "Goon Squad."
     At the end of the video, two scenes from "The Office" seem to appear out of nowhere. While these scenes serve partially as comedic relief, they do not depart from the theme analysis. The first clip shows Dwight Schrute turning towards his colleagues, face obscured by a mask he had made from a chopped up mannequin. The follow up clip shows him stabbing the mannequin; while he had just been hiding behind this falsehood, he resents it. Stabbing the mannequin is his return to his true self, a symbolic goodbye to his false identity.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, being a part of the group that made this video, i feel it shows an accurate representation of A to B. The song, lost in the world by Kanye West can be taken in many ways. In A to B, Bennie is not actually lost, he knows where he is. He is lost in the sense that he doesn't know who he really is and how he fits in with the town he recently moved to. In Lost in the world, there is a phrase that say, "lets get out of this fake ass party." In A to B, Bennie wants to leave the party with his wife because he doesn't fit in with the people. It is fake because it's not real to him making it fake. Batman is lost in the sense that after his parents were killed, he had to search for his real identity. Who he really is. It takes him time to figure out who he really is. A to B shows how being lost in the world can be as simple as not knowing who you really are, not the fake appearances we put on.