Michel Gondry established himself as one of the more prominent visual stylists working today in 2004, when his Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind broke the French filmmaker through to the mainstream–though his impact pre-dates his feature debut (he pioneered a number of visual innovations including the “bullet-time” effect used in The Matrix and countless subsequent action movies in a 1998 Smirnoff ad). In this new spot for Gillette, Gondry applies his visual touch on a new canvas: namely, a gym/recording studio full of NFL stars.
The video, part of Gillette Deodorant’s “Built For Training” series by BBDO New York, features Cincinnati Bengals backfield duo Giovanni Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Broncos corners Champ Bailey and Kayvon Webster, and free agent offensive lineman Mike Golic Jr.as they hit the weights, the heavy bag, and more. The workout looks intense, but it sounds even better: with the gym fully mic’d up, the sounds of their workout create a percussion track composed by one-time LCD Soundsystem member Phil Mossman. The feet on the tread mill start things off, the heavy bag plays the snare, the feedback of metal weights encoutering amps provides some tone, and the entire thing is a gorgeous look at the musicality of the rhythm that bodies create. Gondry’s proven that he can visually capture the power of music before–his 2005 documentary Dave Chappelle’s Block Party proved that–and in two minutes here, he demonstrates that all percussion is just bodies moving to hit things, with help from some of the world’s finest athletes.