The text at the end of this video reads: "This began with our friend, a great defender of life, and was completed in his spirit." And though the video for Modest Mouse's "King Rat" seems cutesy at first, it soon becomes clear why the words "defender of life" are included in this note about the video's director, the late Heath Ledger.
The animated video starts out seemingly sweet and innocent, with whales enjoying themselves on a boat, the colors all slate-gray and blue, with a happy little sun and trumpets blaring from the clouds. But, oh my, does it become gruesome. In a violent turning of tables, the whales hunt the humans and skin them, make them into food and profit nicely from it.
Apparently, in early 2007, Ledger told Modest Mouse of his idea for a music video that would "marry his love of bold and original music with his impassioned stance against the illegal commercial whale hunts taking place of the coast of Australia each year. Always one to operate from his heart and take a stand for what he cared deeply about, Heath's intention was to raise awareness on modern whaling practices through a potent visual piece without having to say a word." Proceeds from iTunes video downloads will go to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for one month.
To check out the intriguing and disconcerting video for "King Rat,"