The video: Filmed in emo black and white, a smoldering Brad Pitt stands alone, gruffly whispering nonsensical koans. "It's not a journey," says the celebrated actor. "Every journey ends, but we go on. The world turns and we turn with it. Plans disappear. Dreams take over. But wherever I go, there you are — my luck, my fate, my fortune. Chanel no. 5. Inevitable." Yes, that's right. This is not a steamy screen test for Fifty Shades of Grey or a sequel to Terrence Malick's bizarre Tree of Life. The 30-second clip (watch it below) is a commercial for Chanel No. 5 — a high-end fragrance formerly hawked by Marilyn Monroe and Nicole Kidman. The strangely serious (or seriously strange) commercial is Pitt's debut as the first male face of the longtime scent.
The reaction: "Brad Pitt must've lost a bet," says Jacqueline Burt at The Stir. Sure, fragrance ads notoriously take themselves way too seriously, "but Pitt isn't pretentious enough to pull off dialogue this melodramatic." Directed by Anna Karenina's Joe Wright, the commercial is serious to the point of parody, says Erik Hayden at TIME. But sadly, says Brian Moyland at Hollwood.com, this "embarrassingly awful" commercial is no joke. "It is a real, actual thing that someone thinks will get your grandmother to buy more perfume." Check it out: