15. MGMT - "Cool Song No. 2"
Director: Isaiah Seret
For "Cool Song No. 2's" concept, director Isaiah Seret says he came up with the idea alongside his stylist Mindy during a 24-hour delay at an airport in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This amidst a two-day safari, which no do doubt provided the inspiration for the video's agricultural theme. Rather than rely on MGMT's Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden to portray the story's two main characters, Seret enlisted the brilliant Michael K Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire) and newcomer Henry Hopper for the roles.
As the villanous "Plant Hunter" at the helm of a massive drug ring, Williams turns in a stunning, emotional performance—the pained expressions that overwhelm his face as he commits acts of violence are just gutwrenching to watch. But top-notch acting, cinematography, and makeup effects (those prosthetic arms—wow) aside, the heartbeat of this quasi-surrealist, nuanced narrative rests in the love story between the "Plant Hunter" and Hopper's character the "Tree." As the "Tree" succumbs to the unexpected consquences of his lover's dirty work, it leads to one of the most devastating vignettes put to film in any medium this year. —Dee