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Velvet Goldmine (1998)

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, more...
Director: Todd Haynes, Todd Haynes
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Studio: Miramax
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Costume Drama/Period Piece, British Drama, UK
Running Time: 119 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
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At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, American independent director Todd Haynes (Safe) received the "Artistic Achievement" award for this re-creation of the UK glam rock scene of the early '70s. Glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who does a character named Maxwell Demon, predicts his own death onstage. As per his prediction, this happens, but when the killing is exposed as a hoax, it marks the end of Slade's stardom. A decade later, in 1984, Brit reporter and former Slade fan Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale), who witnesses the hoax murder, gets the assignment to do a "Whatever Happened To..?" article, and the film's plot suddenly goes into a prismatic Citizen Kane mode, reflecting various angles on Slade's life and career. Arthur visits the wheelchair-bound Cecil (Michael Feast), who discovered Slade, and then tracks Slade through his early life and his initial encounter with outrageous, maniacal American singer Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor). Slade's rise begins as manager Jerry Divine (Brit comedian Eddie Izzard) moves in to take over the performer's career. Ex-wife Mandy Slade (Toni Collette), interviewed by Arthur in a dimly lit nightclub, has memories going back to their initial 1969 Sombrero Club encounter. Their marriage paralleled his Bowie-like ascent to fame as an innovative, bisexual rock star pushing the limits. Idolized by teens, Slade teamed up for a while with the drug-addicted Wild. Eventually, the marriage of Mandy and Slade comes to an end, and she hasn't seen him in seven years when she's interviewed by Arthur. The soundtrack features vintage music by Bryan Ferry, Lou Reed and Brian Eno, plus new tunes. Some background on the making of Velvet Goldmine is documented in producer Christine Vachon's book Shooting to Kill: How an Independent Producer Blasts Through the Barriers to Make Movies That Matter (Avon, 1998) by Vachon with Slate film critic David Edelstein. ~ Bhob Stewart, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

citizen kane it's not... by Neutron November 5, 2003 - 4:34 PM PST
This is a very "pretty movie", but it's pretty highly fictionalized. Had it been made as straight fiction or as a straight biopic of Bowie, Iggy Pop, etc. I think it would have been a lot more successful, but honestly although the performances are fairly strong, the movies fails as anything other then light entertainment and eye candy. As has been mentioned it is very "citizen kane" like but with little of the depth of that movie.

If you are looking for a deep resonanting story or factually accurate biopic, this isn't for you. If you are just looking for something fun, here you go.

even better than the real thing by rarcher August 22, 2003 - 1:06 PM PDT
1 out of 5 members found this review helpful
i like the dream/fantasy/scifi/music video approach to a lot of this
the film amused me quite a bit
they got enough of the history but jumbled it all up into this ridiculous over romanticized gay rock thing
if you're looking for glam history, forget it - if you want to be entertained by a fairy tale squared, have at it
the real scene was never half this cool

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.58)
284 Votes
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