By SpikeDelight 8 Comments
Did you ever notice that in the first cutscene of Grand Theft Auto IV, when Roman drives drunk up to the 'Platypus' to pick up Niko, the Russian pop song by Glukoza, Schweine, is playing on his car radio in the background? The word "schweine" in Russian means Pig (obviously meant to describe Roman as a person and his lifestyle) and the song's lyrics are directly related to the opening of Grand Theft Auto IV. Some of the lyrics are as follows:
Flow of cars, I arrived peacefully
Without control and with obstacles in my head
I'm going home
Step, step, step - I ended up in the dark again
For the third time I was completely deceived
Already by you
These words not only describe the situation Niko is getting himself into, but in some parts the exact movements for the characters and setup for the scene. I'll go verse by verse, as it's almost disturbing how closely Rockstar followed the song's lyrics. The all-important "Grand Theft Auto IV" title reveal shot, in addition to the first shot Roman appears in begins with a car being lowered on a crane from the Platypus onto the dock below. This transfering to the ground is a flow of cars (probably the weakest argument here, but it does make sense). Niko then arrives peacefully in America, ready to live the life of luxury promised to him by his cousin. The phrase "without control" could either signify the fact that Niko's life spins out of his control, dragging him back to the violent past he so desperately sought to escape, or the fact that he so quickly goes from knowing what he's going to do in his new American life to having no control over anything, soon being stranded by Roman in a grungy apartment in a strange land. The obstacles in his head would be the things that Niko eventually reveals that he is unable to overcome about American life throughout the game's story progression. In many conversations with Roman during car rides he chastises the materialistic lifestyle of Americans and the odd rituals they practice. He may not know it at this moment, but these obstacles he has for himself are lying dormant, waiting to be unleashed when his stubborn nature meets the in-your-face life of America. The line "I'm going home" can be understood simply by seeing the first trailer for the game, as Niko hopes he may find a new life in this country and escape from his past sins. When Niko is seen before getting ready to exit the ship he is in a lighted cabin, but when he leaves he is left in the dark to wait for Roman's car to arrive and pick him up. This suspense of not knowing whether Roman will show at all not only relates to the physical darkness of the night, but the empty void Niko feels not knowing whether or not Roman will keep his promise (which he soon finds out wasn't kept anyway). The line about being decieved for the third time I can't quite figure out, one of the two times obviously being by Darko Brevich. I would assume that he was decieved into joining the army in his home country, but I can't say that I'm sure that was one of the three. It is obvious however, that this third deception is Roman's, since he tricked Niko into thinking he was rich and that he would be able to support him financially throughout his stay. "Already by you" may or may not be something lost in translation but I'm going to assume it was meant to say something like "completely deceived... by you already". This would be pointing out the fact that Niko hadn't been in America for five minutes before Roman started deceiving him.
The real significance of having this song be in the opening credits though, has to be the irony of the whole situation with Niko. The theme of the entire song is how a woman's ex-boyfriends, or pigs, decieved her. Her contempt for them fuels the entire song. Niko feels this same contempt in his encounter with Roman, as he realizes everything was a lie; the song's themes signified Niko's emotional conflict in addition to the literal scenes described above. Why however, should Niko be ungrateful for the life he has in America? He definitely didn't have it better in his old country, where fear of being killed by bombings highlighted each day and night. Sure Roman didn't have everything he said he did, but living in America was a major step up for him, so why did he have the right to expect so much of anyone? These questions are all answered later in the game and some are left for the player to infer, but the point in all this is that all of these facts (except for the exposition of course) can be inferred just by the simple choice in music and camera angles for the game's opening cutscene. This is just a little something I noticed when seeing the opening cutscene again which I thought I'd pass onto whoever's interested.
Here's a video of the opening cutscene. The parts I'm talking about begin at 1:48
Call this bullshit if you want, but a if you've ever read a scholarly essay about literature it's pretty much like this. You can take it or leave it. Also don't take that to mean I consider myself the kind of scholar who's qualified to make these kind observations, just wanted to share something I found. If you don't like this, or if you don't like the idea of this (meaning you don't like the fact that I thought so much about one subject), please don't give me bad feedback just because I "wasted my time". I really don't care what you have to say if that's all you're going to contribute to this discussion.