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Kanye West’s “Runaway”: First Impressions

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Performance Stage Performance art Performing arts Scene

Performance Stage Performance art Performing arts Scene

Speeding down an empty road with a breathtaking orange sunset in his rear view, Kanye West describes the motivation for his most recent (and most ambitious) endeavor. "I fantasized bout this back in Chicago." With "Runaway" set to premier Saturday night, West has brought that dark twisted fantasy to vivid life.

Though the plot of the film is sure to be analyzed more completely in the coming days, the stunning visuals and previews of West's new album will have fans buzzing immediately. After a Phoenix (played by the model Selita Ebanks) crashes into West's car, he brings her home and introduces her to his way of life. Apparently this way of life includes extended living room performances of "Power" and spontaneous outbreaks of "Runaway" during dinner. West has always had a slight flair for the dramatic, but this film takes it to a whole new level.

In stark reds and vivid greens, West examines how society treats those that don't conform to its traditional norms of behavior, undoubtedly pulling upon his own life experiences. At points it feels as though he is unloading his immense and varied creativity onto the audience. Take this as a warning; repeat viewings will be necessary.

It is the films' unabashed theatrical nature and "no regrets" mentality that make it such a resounding success. West's straight-faced delivery lends a sense of importance to this project, which may have imploded at the hands of any other artist. Seamlessly walking the line between album promo (fans will be treated to extended snippets of new Kanye tracks including "All of the Lights" and "Lost in the World") and personal self-examination, viewers will be left in shock when the credits roll.

Update: Runaway airs tonight at 8PM EST. Check out the Runaway board on the KanyeToThe.com Forums to discuss the movie during and after the showing.
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