Ah, the classic music video interlude. It has rarely been done right. When it has, we’ve gotten memorable scenes like Don Cheadle vs Kendrick Lamar in DNA or the ridiculous/amazing Titanic rip-off in Oops I Did it Again. When it goes wrong, well, we have Zayn Malik’s new music video.
Before I get to Zayn’s acting skills, I should acknowledge that the song is solid. Dusk Till Dawn is a duet with Sia from Zayn’s upcoming album but it sounds like a quintessential solo Sia anthem. That’s a good thing. The video was directed by Marc Webb – the same guy who directed The Amazing Spider-Man and 500 Days of Summer – so I was expecting a little more than a mini bad action movie. You’ve got a good song, a competent director and celebrity cameo in the form of Jemima Kirke from Girls. All the ingredients to whip up a half decent music video are there but instead, Webb delivers a run-of-the-mill sequence that wouldn’t hold up to any of the videos from the mid 2000s when storylines like this were the standard.
The story goes like this: Zayn and Jemima Kirk (there’s probably a Taylor Swift connection here but I don’t care enough to make it) are sexy criminals on the run from the cops. There’s a briefcase that seems important. Zayn swaggers through Chinatown with said briefcase looking HOT until he is caught. At about the 2-minute mark, the music stops and the interlude we’ve all been waiting for kicks in. It’s hysterical. Zayn gets interrogated by a cop who tries to intimidate him with lines that would embarrass Michael Bay, like “your name is mud on the streets!” What?
Anyway, Zayn’s acting face is one of complete disinterest –similar to his regular resting face—and when he delivers his one line, “you don’t know me,” I laughed out loud. Zayn can barely open his mouth when he lip-syncs so I don't know why I was expecting anything more from his acting skills. To put it mildly, he's no Harry Styles in Dunkirk. I don’t see any Christopher Nolan films in Zayn’s future.
It probably wasn’t fair to bring up the Harry Styles comparison. Of course, Zayn isn’t trying to be an actor. And Harry isn’t trying to put out Sia-approved pop hits. Musically, their styles are so different it’s hard to believe they were ever in the same boy band. They are both living in their respective lanes and doing great. But while I caught feelings for Harry recently, this video is making me re-evaluate my longstanding crush on Zayn. The most I felt for him was during the final shot with him in the passenger seat as Jemima Kirke drives them away in their getaway car, as sexy criminals do. The shot is beautiful and I would have been OK if it was the whole video.
Finally, I need to shut down one very important thing. Rolling Stone and other outlets have called Zayn and Jemima Kirke a modern day Bonnie and Clyde which is straight BLASPHEMY because the only Bonnie and Clyde I recognize are ’03 Jay-Z and Beyonce.
Watch the entire Dusk Till Dawn video below.