In our increasingly digital era, it now feels safe to say that mash-ups qualify, in their way, as authentic micro-narratives. Many of these videos simply pay tribute to the great work of past filmmakers and today’s most vaulted auteurs. They are undeniably pervasive in the culture — the compulsion to dissect and rearrange traditional cinematic storylines and play mix-and-match with your favorite films must be a hard one to resist.
And then, every now and again, you see something like Antonio Maria Da Silva’s ludicrous, fast-paced “Hell’s Club.” It’s a mash-up of old and new movies that’s so seamlessly engineered that you forget that you’re essentially watching a sort of visual collage, a give-and-take tribute to other films. Which is to say that the mash-up itself has a strange, scattered little story all its own.
“Hell’s Club” is a place that apparently exists “outside of time and logic.” It’s a dim, neon-drenched watering hole where the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” plays nonstop at varying frequencies, and Tom Cruise’s clean-scrubbed barkeep from 1988’s “Cocktail” can be seen rubbing shoulders with Vincent, the actor’s hard-nosed assassin from Michael Mann’s “Collateral.”
Considering how many different pictures and genres this the nine-minute video lifts from, it’s a miracle that “Hell’s Club” works at all, and it’s surprisingly effective as as a cohesive whole. Da Silva cribs from movies across the spectrum: everything from “Casino” to “Blade,” “American Hustle” to “Austin Powers.” Even some of the more-maligned, late-period “Star Wars” prequels get a shout-out. It’s interesting to see recent roles from some of our biggest and most recognizable movie faces — Tom Cruise, Al Pacino, and Christian Bale, just to name a few — juxtaposed with their younger parts and their work from past years. In case you don’t feel like getting that academic, however, it is just plain fun to see Al Pacino’s conflicted club owner Carlito Brigante arrogantly stroll right past a booth where Tony Montana sits.
Check out Da Sailva’s fun mash-up below. At the very least, you’ll get to hear Hayden Christensen say, “Jedi business, go back to your drinks,” one more time.