In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hard-living and rebellious American singer Curt Wild.
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1971: Glamrock explodes all over the world and challenges the seriousness within the flower power generation by means of glitter and brutal music. Brian Slade, a young rock star, inspires numerous teenage boys and girls to paint their nails and explore their own sexuality. In the end Slade destroys himself. Unable to escape the character role of "Maxwell Demon" that he created, he plots his own murder. When fans discover the murder is not real, his star falls abruptly and he is quickly forgotten about. 1984: Arthur, a journalist working for a New York newspaper, gets assigned the tenth anniversary story about the fake murder of Brian Slade. When Arthur was young and growing up in Manchester, he was more than a fan of Slade. Reluctantly he accepts the assignment and starts to investigate what happened to his old glamrock hero. Written by
The Curt Wild character is mainly inspired by David Bowie's relationship with two American 1960's underground rockers whose careers Bowie resurrected, 'Iggy Pop (I)' and Lou Reed. Iggy Pop hailed from Michigan and shared Wild's long blond locks, while Reed underwent shock therapy for bisexuality as a teen and was rumored to have had an affair with Bowie before their falling out after Bowie produced Reed's album Transformer. Much central to the film is fictionalized, such as the mythical, mysterious, decade-long disappearance of "Slade", although he reincarnated himself as Tommy Stone, a blonde with a white suit (the 'thin white duke'). Bowie wasn't as huge of a star as Slade is depicted here and never withdrew for so long from the public-eye as did the film's character. See more »
(at around 1h 26 mins) In the scene "The Break-up" as Toni Colette's character walks away from Jonathon Rhys Meyers a boom microphone shadow comes into view. See more »
[voiceover on New Year's Eve '69]
And in crowded clubs or hotel bars, this shipwreck of the streets rehearsed his future glory. A cigarette tracing a ladder to the stars.
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I have to admit, the only reason I rented this movie was because of my current Ewan McGregor fixation--but I really hit a good one renting Velvet Goldmine. Being too young to have experienced the glam rock scene of the seventies and eighties and the roots of punk rock this movie not only gave me an awesome Ewan fix but a surreal, musically effulgent look at a time period that few got to experience first hand. Should you be a very straight forward and literal movie goer, I would not recommend this movie. But Velvet Goldmine kick a whole lot of ass for anyone who loves music, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Kurt Cobain and the pioneers of some of the greatest music to come out of the 20th century. Todd Haynes created a world of decadence, sexual experimentation glued together with infectious music and enough eye makeup to keep Christina Aguleria happy into her eighties. I highly recommend this movie to those with open minds and open ears.
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