Velvet Goldmine (1998) / Drama-Musical

MPAA Rated: R for strong sexual content, nudity, language and drug use
Running Time: 124 min.

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Toni Collette, Christian Bale, Eddie Izzard
Director: Todd Haynes
Screenplay: Todd Haynes

Review published April 15, 1999

During the glam rock craze in England during the early 70s, one of the leaders of the music movement, Brian Slade, fakes his own death as a publicity stunt. The result backfires as the truth is known and it sends the young glitter-rocker's controversial career down the crapper, resulting in his disappearance from the public eye. Fast forward to 1984, where a reporter who was a huge fan and was there during the "shooting" is asked to find out, "Whatever happened to Brian Slade?" for the 10th anniversary of the famous non-murder.

Well-directed but poorly plotted by writer/director Haynes, with good performances from his actors (who also sang their own songs), gorgeous costumes, authentic feeling sets, and a great soundtrack. The film is quite interesting while watching Slade's career but the film slogs through metaphoric mud during the scenes with the reporter, with the narrative becoming nonsensical and surreal towards the end. The film will probably be loved most by fans of the rock fad, but there isn't enough to sustain the interest of anyone else.

Qwipster's rating:

1999 Vince Leo