cinema visual

TV / Wes Anderson's Amex ad

"Why would I put on a hat if my best friend just got blown up in front of me?" An excel­lent ques­tion posed by Jason Schwartzman's char­ac­ter in Wes Anderson's excel­lent Amex ad. In just under two min­utes, the ad encap­su­lates the bril­liance of Anderson's vision: it's filled with snap­py dia­logue, exquis­ite pro­duc­tion design, and per­fect­ly pitched non sequitors. It begins with a car explo­sion. Ander­son shouts "Cut!", acknowl­edges that it's an ad ("Any­way, Amer­i­can Express ad"), and pos­es the ques­tion, "Mak­ing movies. How do you do it?" He then strides through a series of vignettes while attempt­ing to give direc­tions: "First, think up a good sto­ry," but he's then inter­rupt­ed by a PA who wants to intro­duce him to the daugh­ter of a man who loaned the a sports­car to the pro­duc­tion. "Two, how do you tell it?" he says and then directs a prop­mas­ter to put a bay­o­nette on a .357 mag­num. "Next, there's your col­lab­o­ra­tors," while a PA is telling him that the pro­duc­ers won't pay $15000 for a heli­copter rental. As he pre­pares for the next shot, he con­cludes: "You mix it all togeth­er and that's more or less it." Slate post­ed an admir­ing review yesterday.