Greg Johnson Set “Sun Beat Down”

The more Greg Johnson videos I see, the more appreciation I have for his video oeuvre. There are are some rippers in there and “Sun Beat Down” is one of them.

Directed by Mark Tierney and Paul Casserly, it has a slick, ’90s western feel to it, probably influenced by the work of Robert Rodriguez.

Shot with a hazy orange filter, the video is set in a dusty yard between a warehouse and a railway track and a big ol’ Cadillac pulls up. So cinematic is the setting that I was even wondering if it was shot in New Zealand, but the car’s number plate and registration sticker reveal its Aotearoan origins.

Greg gets out of the car and he is a troubled man. As he swelters under the hot noon sun, he experiences flashbacks (shot in black and white) of himself getting up to no good with an attractive young woman and another man.

Back to the orange present and we discover the woman’s body in the boot of the car. Greg grabs a spade and wanders off, presumedly to bury her. So how did she die? Well, through flashback we see Greg and the woman in bed, having a good old pash. Then he’s on top of her, thrusting away and suddenly she’s dead, making him a certified dud root. (Before I saw this video I originally predicted he’d do a sex-face in the video. I didn’t realise how accurate that would be.)

It’s a stylish world full of sharp suits and big cars. There aren’t many bands that can get away with such a bold video, but the directors ensure everything in the film looks good. And it helps that Greg Johnson plays a perfect oily crim. Just don’t end up in bed with him.

Update: Director Paul Casserly tweeted some behind-the-scenes details of the shoot. The exterior was shot at “the old AFFCO works out the back of Onehunga” and the interior was shot at Hotel DeBrett (a popular video location due to its photogenic men’s toilets that feature in other videos). Paul’s nieces play the two dancing children and the playwright Linda Chanwai-Earle is the lady in the “weird devil costume”. Richard Long was the DOP.

Best bit: the little girl doing and Irish jig by the side of the train tracks. Fiddly-dee-dee, Riverdance!

Directors: Mark Tierney, Paul Casserly
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… an attempt at excitement.

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