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 film was originally supposed to feature some of David Bowie's music, hence the title; however, when Bowie learned that the script for the film was partially based on the unauthorized biographies "Stardust: The David Bowie Story" written by Henry Edwards and Tony Zanetta and "Backstage Passes" written by Bowie's ex-wife Angie Bowie, he threatened the producers with a lawsuit. Bowie's songs were, therefore, not used, and the script was partially re-written to avoid unnecessary resemblance between Bowie and the Bowie-style character Brian Slade. See more »
A closed-circuit TV camera housing appears outside the theater for Brian Slade's concert as the shot pans across a queue of fans early in the film. Such outdoor CCTV security and surveillance only became widespread in the mid-1980s, while that particular style of camera housing did not appear for some time after that. See more »
Every great century that produces art is, so far, an artificial century, and the work that seems the most natural and simple of its time is always the result of the most self-conscious effort.
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I don't think I've ever seen a movie that has polarized people as much as this one, or at least very few. Some people have put down every single thing about it. As for me, when my roommate (who had already seen it) asked me what I'd thought of it I replied in all honesty, "I loved every single frame of it." She concurred, and we've both seen it again since. I plan to buy it as soon as I can find it for sale. It's heavy on metaphors, which seems to have annoyed a lot of people. As for it's structural resemblance to 'Citizen Kane', that was one of the points. Glam rock was in part about copying others for copying's sake, like Brian Slade copied from Curt Wild, and everyone copied from Jack Fairy. The performances are all great. Some may nitpick about how the characters were portrayed, but I think they were all apt. Ewan McGregor has gotten plenty of slobbering, ecstatic praise from me in the past, and this only encouraged the worship. Toni Collette, so mired in ugly duckling roles since 'Muriel's Wedding', is wonderful, as is Christian Bale's brittle, disillusioned reporter role. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is, as Brian Slade, a glittering void, as cloaked in mystery at the end as he was at the beginning. Some of have criticized his role, but I think he did it just right, with a grand coldness. One believes that only such a creature could be the idol of an era that was, in the end, about glittering emotional voids and icy hipness. Why did he do what he did? We never know. That's one of the best parts. (I must embarrass myself here by noting, also, that Rhys-Meyers is so shockingly beautiful it's disgusting, like eating too much honey. Kinda makes you wanna puke on his shoes, doesn't it?) I suppose that not everyone can be expected to love this movie as much as I did, but I'm still a little surprised at some of the venom that's been spit at it. Then again, it is a truly enigmatic film, delicious for those who can appreciate a glorious feast of sight and sound, but just plain confusing and annoying for those who lack the imagination to appreciate it.
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