Five Radical Music Videos from the Early to Mid-Aughts – Number Two: Modest Mouse’s King Rat
Carrying the nautical themes of Modest Mouse’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank and No One’s First and You’re Next, the music video for King Rat - directed by the late Heath Ledger - is an animated cautionary tale about animal cruelty.
In his concept for the music video, Heath Ledger opposes the illegal commercial whale hunts taking place off the coast of Australia each year. Depicting a cartoon in which human and whale roles are reversed, the overall theme of the video raises awareness about this sickening practice.
Although the song was released in the mid-aughts, Ledger’s music video didn’t debut until 2009. Ledger fully conceived the video and was collaborating with Brock and Co. until his untimely death. Afterwards, the animation was completed by the Masses.
A sobering tale about the unethical cruelty of whaling, the video also serves as a somber tribute to Heath Ledger, a brilliant interdisciplinary artist who died way too young.
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Some thoughts on art, life, and theatre. Stay positive.