Justin Timberlake is back, and he’s brought a frequent collaborator with him. The artist/actor announced earlier this week that he has a new album coming out in February and would be releasing four music videos ahead of the album’s release, and the first one is online now. It’s called “Filthy” and it involves a dancing robot. That’s about all you need to know to entice you to watch, but the video was directed by Never Let Me Go and One Hour Photo helmer Mark Romanek, which makes it all the more intriguing.
Romanek actually cut his teeth in the music video world, helming the now iconic videos for Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” and Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson’s “Scream.” He moved into features with the aforementioned standouts, but he’s exited a few high profile projects due to creative differences like The Wolfman and Disney’s Cinderella and hasn’t directed a movie since 2010’s Never Let Me Go.
But his relationship with Timberlake began last year when Romanek helmed the colorful video for “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”, and Romanek is also a friend of David Fincher’s, who of course not only directed Timberlake in The Social Network but also helmed his “Suit and Tie” video.
“Filthy” is a pretty entertaining watch with a Black Mirror-esque twist at the end. Timberlake no doubt used motion capture to perform as the dancing robot here, and the result is something a bit uncanny, a bit funky, but 100% fun. I’ll be interested to see what directors Timberlake nabbed for his other videos, but with a February 2nd release date for Timberlake’s new album Man of the Woods (two days before he’s set to perform at the Super Bowl Halftime Show), we won’t have long to wait.
Oh, and side note: If you enjoy this video and haven’t seen Jonathan Demme’s music documentary Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids, now streaming on Netflix, I highly, highly recommend it.