The television commercial for the wildly successful Xbox 360 video game Gears of War (2006) – which has, so far, sold more than five million copies – opens with an image of a war-torn cityscape silently smouldering; it radiates as much sinister Gothic pathos as a Tim Burton film. As a view of this digitally-rendered war zone unfolds, a hunched, metal-clad Übermensch appears. He stares dolefully into a pool of water, alone, apparently, in the aftermath of a great battle, his square jaw, weathered skin and narrowed eyes oozing the stoic resolve of the most iconic anti-hero. As this sensitive brute cradles the semi-obliterated face of a porcelain putto in his palm – a passage so heavy-handed it is almost camp – the ground around him begins to erupt and, in an effort to escape, the commando flees quite literally into the jaws of a ravenous alien beast; part scorpion, part beetle and wholly flight-of-fancy. The commercial fades to black just as our nameless hero unleashes a hail of bullets upon this seemingly unassailable monster, the drama of this David-and-Goliath encounter emphasized by a moody tenebrism worthy of Georges de La Tour.
more from Christopher Bedford and Jennifer Wulffson at Frieze Magazine here.