Stardust review: A flimsy, unrecognisable portrait of David Bowie in his early years – The Independent
Dir: Gabriel Range. Starring: Johnny Flynn, Jena Malone, Marc Maron. 15, 109 mins
Johnny Flynn doesnt should have to get a bum rap for his efficiency as David Bowie in Stardust, Gabriel Ranges flimsy biopic of the star. The actor-musician, so magnetic in 2015s EMMA., is convincing as a tortured glam rocker– simply not the one who ever sang about Major Toms interplanetary experiences. Its somebody else in all the floppy hats and heeled shoes, in the scarlet hair and sequins. This isnt the artist of such dazzling, inscrutable mystique, however a vision of Bowie as a sullen kid in a pre-Ziggy Stardust moment of imaginative instability.
Its due partially to the truth Range never ever got the approval of the singers estate or the rights to his discography. Theres much talk of 1969s “Space Oddity”, but we never actually get to hear it, to the point it becomes a type of ludicrous, musical Schrödingers feline. It looks like a fools errand, however others have actually proven it is, undoubtedly, possible to movie a musical biopic without any of the music in concern– take Jimi: All Is by My Side, which tracked the months a pre-fame Hendrix invested in London in 1967. The film used covers that Hendrix was known to carry out at the time, finding veracity rather in the electrical state of mind of the time and the musicians own beguiling presence. It was a problematic film, but exceptional in its ambitions.
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Maron is charming as an impassioned grifter, however Bowie, in any sense that his audience may acknowledge him, is mainly missing from Stardust. What Flynn uses rather is injured, puppy-dog appearances, the adjusting of hats, and self-conscious posing– with a voice that bends towards Bowie without dedicating to a full-on impression.
Stardust takes a practically identical course, relying on other peoples songs that Bowie carried out and liked, consisting of Jacques Brels “My Death” and the Yardbirdss “I Wish You Would”. Thats not a sin in itself– the movie simply stops working to persuade on any other level. When Bowies course inevitability crosses with a few modern luminaries, such as Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, the film awkwardly skirts around them in order to avoid the concern of having to in fact provide a possible imitation.
The movie presents it as a case of misinterpreted genius, as Bowies supervisor (Brendan J Rowland), with 4th wall-breaking obviousness, states that “future generations will look back on it as an influential work”.
Its a narrative framework that turns the whole film into a bumbling odd-couple comedy, as Bowie plays to vacuum salesmen and Christian radio stations– his internal provocateur always managing to ruin things at the last minute.
Variety, who composed the script with Christopher Bell (The Last Czars), is upfront about the truth Stardust is “( mainly) fiction”– as a title card brazenly declares. It chooses up on a very specific episode in Bowies life, his 1971 trip of the US, following the commercial failure of The Man Who Sold the World. The movie presents it as a case of misconstrued genius, as Bowies supervisor (Brendan J Rowland), with 4th wall-breaking obviousness, states that “future generations will look back on it as an influential work”.
Director Gabriel Range attempts a catch-all description for the creation of Ziggy Stardust, in such a way that feels inevitably reductive and presumptuous.
( Vertigo Releasing) But, for now, the only person with any faith in his artistry seems to be Ron Oberman (Marc Maron), his United States press agent. Bowie lands in America, just to discover that his visa wont permit him to perform in the country, and, with absolutely no spending plan to back him, he needs to lodge with Rons mom. Its a narrative structure that turns the whole film into a bumbling odd-couple funny, as Bowie plays to vacuum salesmen and Christian radio stations– his internal provocateur always handling to destroy things at the last moment.
It later on ends up that Bowie is so reticent to speak about his work, especially its themes of insanity, due to the unprocessed trauma surrounding the institutionalisation of his half-brother (Derek Moran) as an adult, after a diagnosis of schizophrenia. He worries that hell be next. Range uses those worries as a catch-all explanation for the production of Ziggy Stardust, in a method that feels inevitably reductive and presumptuous– possibly that fits some other version of Bowie, however its not the one all of us keep in mind and know..
Maron is captivating as an impassioned grifter, but Bowie, in any sense that his audience may identify him, is mainly missing from Stardust.
Johnny Flynn does not be worthy of to get a bad rap for his efficiency as David Bowie in Stardust, Gabriel Ranges lightweight biopic of the star. When Bowies path inevitability crosses with a few contemporary luminaries, such as Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, the movie awkwardly skirts around them in order to prevent the concern of having to really provide a possible imitation.