Friday, 2 October 2009

"Mexican Standoff" Bill Plympton (Parsons Brown 2008)

Bill Plympton is lauded for a career that goes back to 1968, prolific in that it has included almost one film a year with a style that is instantly recognisable. When an animator makes it big as Bill most certainly has, television commercials come their way as well as today's commission for Netherlands band, Parsons Brown. I confess I did not know the music before seeing the video, so I guess it works. The track has a pleasing beat to it, of a type composed, I always think, whilst out on the road as the landscape speeds by. But I digress. It is ready made for cowboy riding the plains or female gunslinger climbing the stairs. Mexican Standoff has the Plympton style all right, characters with faces seemingly made from India rubber, capable of being stretched to infinity, the loosely sketched frames that belong in some political rag, the cartoonist viciously lampooning some unfortunate politician, distorted perspectives that always hit the mark, a tendency towards the bizzarre or surreal. What the brown piece lacks is the delicate crayon colouring (Signe Baumane) that so well complements the visual exaggerations in the director's best work. The story is of a rangy gunslinger who giddy ups to a tall tower where resides a sultry beauty much given to combing her hair. Bulging eyes, a gunfight and our guy stealing the lady's heart, quite literally, plus a horse that steals the girl. Another digression. I miss the old films with the gunfights.

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