Coldplay‘s latest music video for “Magic” plays out as a tribute to the golden age of film–saluting the silent art form, in particular. Adding a dash of the traveling circus, lead singer Chris Martin serves as a dual plot device, portraying the overly dramatic (and humble) assistant and the abusive husband to the lovely Ziyi Zhang (from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).
As the clip rolls out, there seems to be something rather amiss with their relationship. Reality is blurred as the five-minute traveling circus sequence cuts between nefarious dictator-like lover and the submissive side-lined assistant. Zhang is trapped in a loveless marriage, much like the tricks she performs night after night. She has no choice but to trudge onward in this not-so-real universe. The imagery is vivid, a literal interpretation of what we’ve all come to expect from a 1920s side-show attraction.
Things quickly escalate, as bruises begin to appear on Zhang’s porcelain skin. She does well in hiding her turmoil, but her troubles don’t go completely ignored. In the end, it’s Martin’s (as the assistant) sorcery skills that set her free, like a dove being released from her cage. She is the magic she performs.
“Magic” serves as the lead-in to the band’s forthcoming set Ghost Stories, out May 19 on via Parlophone/Atlantic.