The Weeknd releases short film in anticipation of his album

By AARON ACEVEDO
On March 11, 2020

Photo courtesy of Anton Mak, Wikipedia

Abel Tesfaye, known professionally as the Weeknd, has recently announced that his next album, “After Hours,” will arrive on March 20. With that announcement, he has released several singles from the album, with “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights” earning spots in the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100.

To compliment his upcoming album, he released a short film with the same name of his album, a project that only lasts around five minutes. In that short span of time, the Weeknd proves that he has not lost his touch, showing how much prowess he has put into this project and making fans want more.

The film follows the Weeknd after a live performance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” walking through the streets and underground of Hollywood. As he leaves the stage and time goes on, his demeanor goes from one of elation to one of anguish and contemplation.

Snippets of unreleased songs from the album are heard as he walks around, his face being bloodied and bandaged the whole time.

Tensions in the music and the Weeknd’s demeanor grow higher with every second, until he enters an elevator, with two people later entering while he is in there. From there, the sounds of screaming are heard as the elevator doors close, red lights flash rapidly as loud banging noises are heard coming from within, the words “After Hours” barely being visible as the red lights continue to flicker on and off.

The short film is brilliantly shot, with every scene feeling suffocating. Whether Tesfaye is outside on the streets of Hollywood or in the subway underneath, viewers can see how the world seems to be closing in on him, regardless of his reactions to it.

The film also uses a large amount of red light, increasing the intensity of every scene it appears in. It makes viewers see how the Weeknd can fully express himself in those lights, but restrain himself outside of them.

In addition, Tesfaye does an amazing job at acting without saying a word. Outside of Jimmy Kimmel and the two people who enter the elevator with him, there are no lines spoken in the short film.

The Weeknd only has his battered face and his own expressions to convey his emotions, which he does exceptionally well. His rapid emotional shifts are shown clearly, and the ways he restrains himself and lashes out make it easy to empathize with him as he loses the high of being onstage.

Going off of that point, the film clearly shows themes about loneliness and fame. After the Weeknd gets off-stage, he is only left with himself and his own thoughts, as he goes through the cold world around him.

The film hints at the duality of fame and how it can negatively affect a person. The fact that such a message can be conveyed in only five minutes deserves merit.

The music that is played within the video also excels in the film. Every snippet of the album sounds sleek and dark, much like most of the Weeknd’s previous discography. It sets up his album to be one full of powerful emotions leading fans to wonder how the Weeknd will comprehend them, building up hype for the project in the process.

After spending a year taking a break from music, the Weeknd has proven that he has not lost his touch. “After Hours” is another successful project from the artist, showing how much he is capable of when it comes to his music and his acting.

The “After Hours” album’s release date is on the horizon, and based off this project, it is destined to be a raving success that people will think of fondly, in part due to this stellar short film.

5/5 stars

 

aaceved3@ramapo.edu 

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