What is this? Is it the world’s first R & B opera? Is singer R. Kelly the Fellini of music videos? I have no idea. Until I saw this 43-minute film, I’d never heard of R. Kelly (though both he and his 2005 film were parodied in the South Park episode on Scientology where a cartoon version of Kelly showed up to exhort Tom Cruise to come out of the closet). And I’m not sure I want to hear of him again.
Whatever his film Trapped in the Closet: Chapters 1-12 is or isn’t, it’s fascinating in its sheer peculiarity. How to describe it? Well, R. Kelly plays a character called Sylvester, who finds himself in a strange bed being romanced by a strange woman. He quickly finds himself shoved into the closet when her husband comes home. From there we follow a seemingly endless chain of sexual infidelities on the parts of everyone Sylvester encounters — mixed with random gun-play, soap-opera theatrics and odd (satirical?) references to Christianity — all set to one long song with Kelly singing all the parts (except for one brief parody of an operatic trio). Is it good? Beats me, but it’s certainly different.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke