35. Criminal (2011)
All Britney needs in her life of sin, is she and her boyfriend. The “Criminal” video is very ambitious, but it works. Shot in London, directed by “I Wanna Go” director Chris Marrs Piliero and co-starring her real-life boyfriend (and former agent) Jason, the video tells the story of a woman who falls for a criminal.
Britney has an arsehole boyfriend who, while he is very pretty, is also abusive, violent and a two-timer. Empowered by seven squirts of her perfume, Britney stands up for herself. This leads to a violent confrontation outside, with a leather-clad stranger coming to Britney’s rescue.
Black-clad narrator Britney tells the story (for the real Britney does not run off with criminals), while story Britney finds herself holed up with the criminal in a scungy flat. There is chemistry between them, so they head to bed. Criminal is revealed to have a giant back tattoo as well as “RIP GOOSE” on his chest. Who is this Goose person?
A convenience store hold-up turns to a life of crime, turning the pair into a ‘11 Bonnie and Clyde. Holla. They’re on the front of the papers. Britney doesn’t wear a disguise, presumedly because her hair is too awesome mess up.
Feeling dirty, they have a shower. And this is full-on naked-man-and-lady, getting wet in a shower business. See, Britney’s still got it.
Less impressed are the local constabulary, who descent upon the flat with automatic weapons. The flat is shot up with bullet holes (hey, even more Bonnie and Clyde). Are the lovers doomed?
The cops raid the flat, but can’t find any sign of the pair. “The suspects have left the building,” one cop radios in, getting all Elvis. Finally we see a shot of the couple riding off together. Watch out - Britney’s got a taste for the criminal life and some high-maintenance hair extensions. It is really good to finally see another Britney video where she properly ends up with the guy, even though the narrative suggests things won’t be plain sailing.
I’m not so fond of the song itself, but the video packs so much style and drama into it that I can’t help but love it. This feels like proper, grown-up Britney. No more frou-frou. This is what Britney is comfortable with now.
So that ends my look at Britney Spears’ videographic oeuvre. It doesn’t look like there’ll be any more singles released from “Femme Fatale”, but when her next video comes out, I’ll review it.
Lessons learned: Britney has major yet understandable issues with the paparazzi; her early videos relied on her not getting the guy or being all independent; and you’re never fully dressed without a liberal dose of a Britney Spears perfume.
And for more Britney video fun, MTV are having a tournament to figure out the ultimate Britney Spears video. Womanizer is my pick, but the voting public don’t agree!