The video was shot in New York City and directed by the man behind man behind many of Rihanna's promos, Anthony Mandler. The Barbadian singer wears the same eye patch that she had in Jay-Z's video for Run This Town
. Mandler told MTV News that he saw the clip as the perfect embodiment of the haunting ballad. "I think that with this song and the meaning of this song and how loaded it all is, no pun intended, how much imagery and perhaps symbolism that is loaded in this song, the only way to do it was to do something that was visually challenging," he said.
Mandler added that he thought of the video as a metaphor for Rihanna's very public life in the gossip pages, as opposed to a direct comment on her much publicized domestic violence incident with then-boyfriend Chris Brown. "I think you can't effect change unless you're willing to take a risk," he said. "You can't get people to pay attention and understand unless you're willing to push the limit and try new things. The song, this situation, everything is so frontloaded with so much gossip and so much media coverage and so many emotions and stories that if you don't try to do something that is poetic and layered in symbolism, then you're either running from the truth or you're being too obvious with it."