Duran Duran – Rio Music Video Breakdown.

I can’t prove it, but I’m fairly sure this video started with the following conversation in an office, probably in London, 1982.

Director: Right, it’s the 80s. Everyone is being super literal. We need to symbolise stuff.
Simon The Strawberry Bon Bon: Symbolise what?
Director: It doesn’t matter. Just symbolise stuff.
Simon: Shouldn’t it be relevant?
Director: No, just symbolise stuff. Symbolise the shit out of symbolism. I want so much symbolism I have an embolism. BUT! None of it can make sense. I don’t want ACTUAL symbolism. Just symbolism that looks like it means something. We don’t have a writer. Also, whilst we’re at it, let’s chuck in something that’ll probably be one of the most iconic shots of the decade.
Simon: Can we go somewhere hot?
Director: Sure. Where?
Simon: Well, the song is called Blackpool.
Director: Her name is Blackpool?
Simon: Chris didn’t think that joke all the way through.
Director: Change it to Rio. Then we can go to Rio. Shit! Literal! I know, we’ll go to Antigua instead. ROLL VT!

It’s a fact that this is one of the best music videos of all time. But why? That’s a good question. I think this is one of those times we just enjoy some of our primal likes. Colours and shapes. Let’s dive into this shitshow.

[00:00]: I think I’ve got the wrong video this appears to be a James Bond film. Wait… Someone’s just been to editing school and learnt to cut on a beat.

[00:10]: A magic mirror reassembles itself and there’s a woman. Let’s call her Barbara. A few beat cuts and now Barb…. Is that Barbara? I think it’s another woman. Let’s call her Ramona. She’s laying on a big dock. Some weirdo with a camera is sneaking up on her to take pics whilst a small black box, obviously moving with the beat, zooms in on her. THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW HE’S TAKING PICTURES! SHE’S UP! Ramona struts all over the big dock.

[00:20]: A Duran Duran band member rises from the water, and you’re not gonna believe this, it’s in time with the music. He’s underneath Ram…. Is that Ramona? I think it’s another woman. Let’s call her Shaniqua.

[00:21]: We get a close up of his sunglasses and they have to be the most reflective sunglasses ever. Not only that they’re capable of reflecting two things at once. I’ll check eBay later for a pair. We see Shan…. Is that Shaniqua? I think it’s another woman. Let’s call her Twinkletits.

[00:22]: This is now moving so fast I can’t keep up. There’s some rope spinning around a thing with water being thrown on it. Why? Who the fuck cares!

[00:23]: This is where we meet the first orange ball. We see Twinkle…. is that Twinkletits? I think it’s another woman. Let’s call her Vanessa Fancysnatch.

[00:25]: Band members lay on a boat and a load of those orange balls roll past. It’s the 80s so colours aren’t what they were and the one he’s holding looks more pink. Sorry, not holding, bouncing. Like he’s Toby in The West Wing. They’re in typical New Romantics fashion. Good for them. It’s been all of 2 seconds since we threw water at something. I miss it. I hope it happens again.

[00:27]: The steering wheel! Quick throw water at it! Nailed it.

[00:28]: A compass that just spins. Obviously it’s been put off kilter by Simon Le Bons magical face.

[00:29]: Hey up! We see Vanes…. Is that Vanessa Fancysnatch? I think it’s another woman. Let’s call her Baroness Cuntflaps De Hasselhoff Von Klinkahoffen. She’s either a) Stood on those balls or b) Has the worst case of measles I’ve ever seen. She steps onto the boat. Everyone looks at her like they wish she was wearing a verruca sock. QUICK THROW WATER ON IT!

[00:31]: We see Barone…. Is that Baroness Cuntflaps De Hasselhoff Von Klinkahoffen? I think it’s another woman. Let’s call her Jane because Chris can’t think of anymore fancy names. OMFG THROW WATER ON HER! AND MAKE IT GREEN!

[00:33]: One of the four thousand women in this video lays against a tree. Duran Duran come up like they’re stalking some prey. We barely get to see them because this video is badly directed and badly shot. It’s the 80s though, so who cares.

[00:37]: That’s it, just cut the actual band out of the picture and show more of this non-descript woman. She’s gonna stroke her face. Probably because she’s scared someone’s about to throw water on her. Are we done with that now? It is over?

[00:40]: Cut to… what the fuck is this? Simon Le bon leaning on his arm like he’s never done it before and the entire concept it completely foreign to him. This shot could also be described as “Two Arses”. Oh fuck. He’s mentioned ice cream so we know what’s coming…

[00:43]: 1. Yep, ice cream instead of water. 2. For the first time ever in this video I’m confident that this lady was the lady we just saw 2 seconds ago. 3. The indecision between making this literal and not is at war with itself. 4. What a waste of fucking ice cream. It’ll have sand in it now.

[00:45]: The weirdness of odd camera shots continues as we get two conjoined shots because the team that made this aren’t good enough to get this in one. They clearly wanted the Bond shot. They didn’t get it.

[00:51]: He approaches her and gets bitten by a crab. It’s a little big to have fallen out of her bikini bottoms, but you never know! WEAR CONDOMS, KIDS!

[00:57]: Unimpressed by the bad special effects, she kicks him over

[01:00]: It’s fine, he lands in the water… AND HERE WE GO, TIME FOR THE MOST ICONIC SHOT OF THE 80s!…


[01:04]: W O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O HER NAME IS RIO AND SHE DANCES ON THE SAND! No one has ever looked cooler. Not that guy in the dark blue though, who looks like he may fall in.

[01:07]: Ship stuff. We’re back on the throwing water as well. Maybe the steering wheel is secretly a water mill. Maybe it’s not called a steering wheel. I should check that.

A ship’s wheel or boat’s wheel is a device
used aboard a water vessel to change that
vessel’s course. Together with the rest of
the steering mechanism, it forms part of
the helm.

So, it’s a “Ship’s wheel”. Why a “Car’s wheel” is a steering wheel then, I’ll never know. I best start calling it a Ship’s Wheel though, otherwise Boat Twitter will try and flog me or make me wear a sweater around my neck like a twat. What’s wrong with you, boat people?! The only boat owning person I’ve ever got behind is Dexter.

[01:09]: Thing from the Addams Family shows up. Looking like he’s high on Lilt.

[01:10]: Weird shot of a chrome thing so someone looks like they have freaky legs. No reason for it whatsoever.

[01:11]: Speaking of bizarre shots. Thing makes another appearance. It’s not enough to have a hand creeping around though, no, stick a man in the background and throw water on him. Why? Because!

[01:12]: A little break from the madness for a second whilst we just see some nice boat shots.

[01:15]: And it was going so well for a second. Port-Hole-Cock.

[01:17]: Back to the classic shot of Le Bon Jovi looking super cool. I hope he doesn’t completely ruin how cool he looks by doing something utterly fucking stupid soon.

[01:22]: At 6 seconds that might have been the longest shot so far. Now we’ve got a lady, (Don’t worry, I’m out of lady names)… MARJORIE GUANO SANDAL-FORCE CHICHESTER THE THIRD!

[01:24]: Back to Mr French Sweets. Milking it a bit now, Simon.

[01:27]: Some flowered hands pull a rope that is clearly not moving and obviously sat at a huge thick dock.

[01:31]: Get ready for some amazing prop work now. He’s pointing the mirror at him, and then he turns it so we see someone else! GENIUS. After this video these guys went back in time and made Apocalypse Now.

[01:33]: Two guys get Tango’d.

[01:35]: I know what’s coming and this is amazing. A woman sits on a pontoon? Is that a pontoon? What’s a pontoon? Pontoon has lost all meaning. Pontoon, pontoon, pontoon. A woman sits on a stationary raft, chillin like a villain.

[01:36]: A phone appears on a silver tray being carried by what I think we’re supposed to think is that disembodied hand.

[01:38]: It rises up next to the plantain? Pontoon! She takes the phone, as we cut to….

[01:40]: Simon does like a move. Charitably lets call it a dance move, because it’s not anything else as he briefly moves towards the phone. BUT WHO IS ON THE OTHER END!

[01:42]: Oh yeah, her. Good job they showed her again all both seconds after we saw her get the phone otherwise we’d have forgotten.

[01:44]: Simon is now at the phone. He’s seen Hello by Lionel Richie. He knows how to do this. BUT WHO IS HE ON THE PHONE TO! Ahh, good, they slid her into shot. I’d totally forgotten about her in the one second since we last saw her. She waves at him and he blanks her. What a dick. Simon apparently suffering from Parkinson’s at this point because he can’t keep his fucking head still.

[01:57]: She’s had enough of Los Bonos and pulls the telephone line. THIS is where insurance company Direct Line get their name from. It’s at this point you realise that Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran fame has no body strength whatsoever as that tiny tug (Name of my sex tape) was enough to pull him off a boat in a comedic fashion.

[02:02]: Hilarious. ALSO FUCKING HELL WE’RE ONLY AT 2 MINUTES AND WE’VE GONE WELL PAST 1500 WORDS. I’ve often said I have no regrets in life. THIS may turn out to be one of them.


Right, now that we’re at this point, let me just say a couple of things.

1. What we’ve covered up to this point I would consider to be the “sensible” part of the video.

2. My face has been so permanently screwed up whilst watching the video, I’m worried it may never go back.

How I look watching Rio.


[02:03]: A guy sits and reads Fightin’ Army whilst being swallowed by the biggest vagina I’ve ever seen. It’s not even attached to any legs. There’s a giant vagina on the loose in Antigua and THAT isn’t the focal point of this video. We were robbed, lads. This could have been the best video ever!

[02:07]: We now go into fantasy land… LIKE WE WEREN’T ALREADY FUCKING THERE!… and see him running… sorry… Runnin’ up the beach like he’s Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan. He dives onto his front in some of the best acting I’ve ever seen. Why we’ve gone black and white, I don’t know. “Hey, let’s make one of the most colourful music videos ever made! BUT let’s put some black and white into it!”… “Why?”… “Well it’s the 80s, we’re Duran Duran, we’re so coked off our tits it’ll make sense”.

[02:10]: Turns out he’s fallen in front of a woman, who has a glass on her tummy into which…. THEY’RE THROWING WATER! It’s back, lads! He looks perplexed. I don’t know if he was meant to. He’s just so good at the actin’.

[02:15]: HERE COMES THE CHORUS THOUGH! YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS! BOAT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111111 What the fuck is this? Just someone drawing on a map with a compass and now someone swimming.

[02:22]: We cut to a tree… hang on… 7 seconds of that woman swimming… NEW RECORD FOR LONGEST SHOT OF THE VIDEO! Where were we, oh yeah, in a tree with a woman and an orange ball. OF COURSE.

[02:23]: Simon puts his fielding skills to the test… Gives it the old visor fingers like he’s lost it in the sun. HOW FAR HAS SHE THROWN IT!

[02:25]: Turns out he’s on a dock, a big thick dock, and she throws to an Olympic standard. He runs down that long hard dock in his Speedos.

[02:27]: Now comes one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen. They set up a banana skin, so he can slip on it…. only he doesn’t. Instead…

[02:28]: The ball, in an amazing piece of special effects turns massive and knocks him in the water. Now, why the banana peel then? Some will say that it was there as misdirection and that it’s just an attempt to make you think something is going to happen only to have something different happen. The problem with this is that HAVE YOU SEEN THE REST OF THE FUCKING VIDEO!? We’re not dealing with geniuses.

[02:30]: I really want that to be a stunt double, but I honestly can’t tell if it is or not. Simon Le Bon famously can’t fall backwards, nor can you lead him downstairs. He’s got the knees of a cow. Please bear this in mind if you ever plan on sleeping with him and then try to get him out of the house before your boyfriend comes home. DO IT DOWNSTAIRS! (Same rules for if you want to have sex with a cow. It’s a ground floor activity).

[02:31]: Someone is now caught in a net. Is this supposed to be the same person that we just saw get knocked off the rigid dock? You never really see his face so I’m not sure. ALSO HEALTH AND SAFETY MUCH! You could get away with so much more back then. A lady comes in and rescues him. A sequence that apparently needs 5 fucking cuts.

[02:38]: Another hand out of the sea comes up and grabs a neon drink. Only an idiot would try and drink this underwater.

[02:41]: Simon Le Bon.

[02:42]: More Lilt enthusiasts! One makes their way down the deck in an alarming fashion.

[02:45]: They pass the windows of a room where another Duran Duran band member plays with a pink ball. In front of a pink shirt. *sigh*

[02:46]: All of a sudden he’s looking out the window whilst the Lilt rep squats down. CUT TO…

[02:47]: Inside again and we see he through the window.

[02:48]: She then creeps off around the boat some more.

[02:50]: Her massive face creeps into the corner of this shot where they’ve used special effects to make the sky red.

[02:51]: The guy with the pink balls (lol) now decides to leap into action.

[02:52]: More squats from the woman I have always assumed to be the fabled “Rio”. Is that how everyone else sees it? Answers on a post card addressed to “I don’t give a fuck what you think”.

[02:54]: A rather nice shot from the top of the mast as she creeps around some more. Really fucking nuts! Also, is it just me or is this more vagina based camera trickery? You’d be surprised how often I use those four words in the same sentence.

[03:00]: Someone has stolen that woman’s Pontiac? PONTOON! and is making a getaway using the propelling power of the sax.

[03:12]: Christ! 12 SECONDS! That’s now the longest shot. He teleports slowly onto a hillside, gets changed and puts a hat on.

[03:24]: Now the other guy bursts into shot again. Are they not the same person? There’s only one sax playing. What the fucking is actually happening. Sax Wars. Also, based on their movements, they’re playing two different things.

[03:28]: The other guy is still on the raft it seems.

[03:36]: Guy two lifts his sax for a better deepthroating position. Apparently deepthroating isn’t a word. Sad times.

[03:37]: Speedily we move across the water to find…

[03:38]: The worst acting ever. I’ve never seen someone unconvincingly point at something before. I mean, just by pointing at something, you’ve pointed at something. Yet, the way Simon does it makes me think that out of shot he can’t operate his fingers correctly and has made a Live Long and Prosper sign because he can’t grasp pointing.

[03:40]: More speedboat steady cam.

[03:42]: The SS Vagina is now back.

[03:44]: Back to Simon. I just don’t know. Often I can work out what’s going on. Here I’m at a loss. Simon does himself to give himself whiplash just by moving his head.

[03:46]: SS Boaty Mc Boatvag. The cameras spins around.

[03:48]: YOU MAKE ME FEEL ALIVE ALIVE ALIVE! Unlike Simon’s acting.

[03:52]: Pouring fail. She’s not gonna be happy about that.

[03:54]: Told you. She just did more convincing acting that Simon has done in his entire life.

[03:57]: WHAT THE FUCK?! All of a sudden we’re back to when he fell in the water with the phone. AND THE ODDEST FRAMING EVER.

[03:58]: AND NOW WATER BEING POURED ON SHIT AGAIN! Guys, we were passed this!? Oh jesus, he’s discovered letterbox mode on his camera.

[03:59]: Now there’s a horse?! Again, letterboxed by someone with wonky eyes.

[04:01]: There’s now… what? A woman lathering up whilst a guy does his tie in a mirror, whilst in the sea? (4 minutes done! 1 minute 3 seconds to go. Thank fuck.)

[04:04]: Back on the boat. Someone wears red pants to take a nap. Good idea if you’re on your period and worried about leakage.

[04:05]: Back flip fail. Still haven’t got over the letterboxing on this now? Was it always like this and I just didn’t notice it in the first half? Hmm, a couple of shots, but not to this half arsed extent.

[04:07]: HERE IT COMES!

[04:08]: This is better than the other shot. Take all the stuff I said about that other one being the most iconic and apply it here. Too cool. Even Simon. I know that’s hard to imagine.

[04:10]: A woman is trying to steal the sails by disguising them as a dress.

[04:16]: Back to that shot. And rightly so. Stop showing other shit. Why isn’t it just 5 minutes of this. Also when the hell was Rio 5 minutes long? Is it actually or is it just the video version? Rio as released in 82 is…. 5m 37s. Jesus Christ. *checks compilation albums* 5m 15s. What the hell. Apparently this is the SHORT VERSION!

[04:19]: Rio moves into shot and winks at the camera like the guys don’t know she’s there. I mean, why would you, she doesn’t stand out at all. It just looks like Neptune has jizzed on her face.

[04:22]: Back to cool Simon action.

[04:28]: Other band members try to get in on the coolness. Sorry guys, not working.

[04:31]: THIS is how you do it, guys.

[04:36]: We cut to a massive sail. A weird choice buy ok. As the camera pans down, they pretend to play the sax like cunts. Still more convincing than Simon’s pointing though.

[04:42]: There’s no way anyone let him really steer the boat.

[04:43]: More sax cunts.

[04:44]: Someone tipped rhythm overboard.

[04:46]: Oh, and now they’re tipping a guy over. AT THAT SPEED?

[04:50]: Last shot of the video. Simon throws all the cool he’d built up out the fucking window.

[05:03]: Fade to black. Done. Fucking kill me.

[05:04]: Ooo, next video up on YouTube auto play is Paul Simon’s You Can Call Me Al… Good video. Why couldn’t I have done that. I’LL DO IT NOW.

[00:00]: Paul Simon and Chevy Chase sit next to each other, mime, pretend to play stuff and make one of the best videos ever. DONE.

Genuinely kill me now. Right now.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.