Alert! Alert! Yet another chance for me to fangirl Derren Brown has arrived! His latest special aired last week, and I was absolutely overjoyed to watch it. After his previous special, Apocalypse - which had tons of effects, took a lot of work and planning and was amazing - he is making a return to something simpler yet still mind-boggling. In The Great Art Robbery, he bets an art collector that he will steal a painting from under his nose - and he will give him the time/day it will be stolen as well as a picture of the person who will steal it. And, without telling the art collector, Derren uses a group of people, other people normally overlook - in England they refer to them as old age pensioners, or OAP or just pensioners: people over 65 years old. So fun times right? Right.
This is basically a heist with an uplifting message about the journey into your twilight years, and while the first half has some great examples of employing misdirection and taking advantage of people's expectations, it is really the comments on how Derren's project is impacting the lives of these four pensioners he's chosen that makes the first half so memorable.
|Derren shows us how to lift the watch off someone's wrist!|
As he says in the show:
“One day, hopefully, each of us will be elderly. By then we will have learnt things about life and ourselves, about what’s important, and what we really want; things we might be decades away from knowing now. We might like our future selves to be respected and treated with the dignity they deserve and doing that might be one of the clearest celebrations of humanity we know.”
So true, and so well put - it's truly heartwarming to see these pensioners enjoying being "a bit naughty" (I mean he makes them graffiti a wall!), not being a stereotype, and giving some honest thoughts on what it's like to grow older. I like to think I treat everyone with the same respect no matter their age or anything else, but I think a little reminder of how important respect is all the time can't go amiss. And Derren does such a great job with his specials in giving entertainment while also revealing so much about humanity. Of the wonder of the human mind and the wonder of life, and why we should appreciate that for itself.
Anyways, the second half of the special is all nail-biting suspense because with the month long training he's given his gang, we see if they can pull it off, with Derren watching. I don't want to give anything away (I actually made the mistake of looking at the tumblr tag for the special and seeing just ONE WORD which gave a lot away) but there are THREE twists in the end which means that not only was Derren pulling one over on the art collector, he was pulling one over on the viewing audience (THREE TIMES) It's so fun! And so clever! This is perfect entertainment - thought-provoking, funny, intelligent and positive. And I always love when he messes with preconceived notions!
One last thing I'm fascinated with is the advertisements they made for this special - which featured this picture of Derren's face made up to look like a painting. It's so cool! (Although it does make him look a bit creepy!) And I thought the making of this picture video was pretty interesting to watch (which I put below)--