Here’s our review of “Tropico,” as written for the homies over at Thrive Magazine.
There’s a lot to love, and definitely plenty to hate depending on which side of the Lana del Rey fence you’re on. But that’s kind of her story as an artist – you either deal with the fact that her music is a hodgepodge of sadness, contradiction, and Nancy Sinatra-like crooning over dark synths and a backdrop of All-American imagery. Or you just find her really emotional and annoying, and at some point she changes your mind. “Tropico” is no different. With her first short film, Lana Del Rey tells the story of sin and forgiveness that begins in the Garden of Eden, before embarking on a journey through the gang culture of L.A., several strip clubs, and frolicking through golden grass-filled fields at sunset. It’s every bit as intense as it sounds, yet well worth each of its 27 minutes. Here’s our list of 10 things to love about the film:
10. Hey, we’re all sinners. When your Mom asks “When’s the last time you went to church,” at least you can say it’s ok, I learned the story of Adam & Eve by watching Lana Del Rey’s short film instead.
9. 6-4s, LA, and Cholos. For a moment you’ll feel like it’s 1993 and you’re back in a Snoop Dogg video.
8. Cameo appearances by John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. If two of the most important actors of the 20th century aren’t enough to make you wanna watch this thing, I don’t know what to tell you.
7. Lana del Rey in the strip club. Just in case you didn’t catch that from our short summary at the top.
6. The element of surprise. We don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that after watching “Tropico,” you might think twice the next time you pull out a wad of Benjamins at Magic City.
5. It was directed by Anthony Mandler, who is best known for directing Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” and has worked with everyone from Taylor Swift, to Eminem and M.I.A. It was also produced by a pretty important guy named Rick Rubin. (Google him).
4. It was actually written by Lana del Rey. She’s both beautiful and talented, sings her ass off, and stars in videos with A$AP Rocky – what’s not to like?
3. It’s refreshing. After first seeing Kim and Kanye screw on a motorcycle in the Grand Canyon, followed by Seth Rogen and James Franco’s reprise, followed by Miley Cyrus stripping on a Wrecking Ball, and then that guy Steve Kardynal doing his sexed up version on Chat Roulette, our brain needs a break from video porn for a while. While some might find the strip club scenes gratuitous, at least they fit into the storyline.
2. Great Music. Featuring the songs “Body Electric,” “Gods and Monsters,” and “Bel Air,” plus some singing by John Wayne, and classic poetry by Allen Ginsberg.
1. It’s a segue into Lana’s Del Rey’s new album, which is reportedly titled “Ultra Violence.” Sorry guys, there’s no release date just yet.
*Bonus: It also includes a cameo by Pool Boy from Mad TV.