Velvet Goldmine (1998) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna
|We agree completely on this one. If
you like glam rock, you may enjoy the score enough to overlook the
gimmicky structure and slow pace. Anyone else ... well, you'll
have slow pacing, gimmicky structure, and really loud glam rock. 'Nuff
Scoop's notes in white:
This is a "fan fiction" chronicle of the glam/glitter rock era with characters that are very similar to Iggy Popp and David Bowie.
The film really has a problem with structure. It begins with somebody leaving little Oscar Wilde on the doorstep of his stepfather's home in Dublin. When the new parents find the swaddled infant, instead of looking down the street for the culprit, they look to the stars, as if Oscar came from the Almighty or aliens. (Like Ziggy Stardust?)
This was promising in a way. I didn't buy into the pseudo-mystical appearance of the baby, but it does make some sense to connect Oscar Wilde with glam rock.
But the movie dropped the structure and even the thoughtfulness promised by the into, and wandered into a completely new structure. This time, it was Citizen Kane. Seems that the Bowie-like character faked his own murder in a concert 10 years ago, and disappeared completely. An American magazine has assigned a reporter to write a piece commemorating the anniversary of the false assassination, and he is determined to find out where the mysterious star is now. This is done through interviews with the principals, whose stories are then seen in flashback. His ex-wife, his former manager, and so forth. The Citizen Kane parallel goes so far as to have one of the interviewees in a wheel chair.
But the movie didn't really seem to care about that "mystery", and when they finally revealed who he is today, it played to the audience as "so what?", or "who the hell is that"?, or - the worst of all scenarios for a filmmaker - "who cares?" I sure didn't. It also happens that the reporter himself has a direct personal history with Bowie and Popp, revealed slowly in his own flashbacks.
You can see that the entire film is very heavy with structure, and I think that is really more than it can manage.
Are there good points? Maybe. It depends on your point of view. It recreates a very loud, very stylized era with pseudo-songs in the manner of the time. The visuals are often effective (although much too dark for my taste), and the pseudo-glam score is convincing, I guess. The film's intro says it is meant to be played at maximum volume. I think that means that if you like the music and look of that era that you'll probably tolerate the overweight, pretentious, arty structure to get to the musical numbers. I'd probably do that if it were about Marvin Gaye, Paul Simon, Ray Charles, or some other performer I like, but I don't like glam rock, so this was a real chore. In fact, I may have fast forwarded through this movie more than any other one I've seen since The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea. It moves slowly through the musical numbers, often showing the entire song, then it fails to advance the plot after the musical numbers are finished.
If you don't like the music of that era, or if gay/bisexual men turn you off, I'll bet you're just gonna hate this film.
Tuna's notes in yellow:
Velvet Goldmine purports to be an insider's look at the Glam Rock period. A reporter (Christian Bale) is assigned to find the truth behind a faked on-stage assassination and subsequent disappearance of a rock star (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers). He first interviews the star's first manager, then his ex wife (Toni Collette).
A whole bunch of
alleged music frames the story, which includes his rise to fame, the
development of his on-stage bisexual persona, his love affair with
another rock musician (Ewan McGregor), his faked assassination, a split
from his wife, and his subsequent seeming disappearance. We do
eventually learn what finally happened to him.
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