Sunday, January 29, 2012

Velvet Goldmine (1998)

This is a great film. It deals with a David Bowie-like character who leads the rise and fall of glam rock. Velvet Goldmine is visually stunning and well put together. Jonathon Rhys Meyes is just beautiful, Ewan McGregor is sexy, Christian Bale is adorable, and Toni Collette is charming.

The music is wonderful, including glam rock standards, covers, and original pieces that fit right in with the ambiance. Beautiful clothing and set design add to the glamour and decadence.

The film is very academic. One of my favorite details is the green gem that gets passed from character to character. It supposedly belonged to Oscar Wilde, a pioneering dandy and the first pop star. Oscar Wilde quotations abound in Velvet Goldmine, and his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray features prominently in the beginning. It works perfectly to introduce the themes of eternal youth, vanity, decadence, and bisexuality.

The one issue I have is the implication that David Bowie completely sold out in the 1980s. Give the man a break, he couldn't be Ziggy Stardust forever.

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