Note: This started as “my favourite music-related movies” homage and it ended it up as a Velvet Goldmine featurette.
Velvet Goldmine is loosely based on Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust era so, I guess it was inventible I was going to watch it. Furthermore, Bowie didn’t want to participate in the film in any way and he was actually the only artist who didn’t give his permission to use any of his songs in the film – I bet he threw the screenplay out of the window, too. However, the title is a Bowie song; and the only direct link to him (apart from the wigs). I had to see what the fuss was all about (I skipped school for you, Todd Haynes).
I didn’t have high hopes for it and the opening scene was quite a letdown but then, the music started; and the crazies run in (and Micko Westmoreland as Brian Eno, oh my).
The movie wasn’t at all what I expected (should have paid more attention to the promo poster) and the fact that the story was told through Arthur, a devotee, made it even better. In the end, you couldn’t be sure whether all that happened in reality or just in the fan’s head, to make him feel closer to his idols.
Christian Bale was amazing as the shy follower who is slowly turning into an otherworldly creature; always present, always there, a part of the story and part of the band’s lives. And if Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor ever decide to join a band (preferably a glam/trash/rock one), I‘ll be on the front row; I promise.
The soundtrack itself was intoxicating. Even the fake songs! So, thank you David.
If you don’t know who the hell Ziggy and the rest glam gang are, you will probably like it for all the imagery and sounds (and the flawless faces). If you do know who all of these mad people are and actually give a damn, well then be warned and get your high pressure pills before clicking the “play” button and pretend you never saw Brian Molko as Marc Bolan (yes, I am a nasty, horrible, insensitive person).
I only kept the bits I liked in the trailer (sorry, I do that).