We feel David's unease as he frets over who he wants to be. The reason he isn’t performing a Bowie song is that there are no David Bowie songs in “Stardust.” Directed by Gabriel Range (from a script he co-wrote with Christopher Bell), it’s one of those cusp-of-fame-of-a-rock-star biopics in which necessity becomes the mother of invention, by which I mean that the film’s aesthetic is driven by a threadbare financial calculus. So even though he’s supposed to be touring the States, he can’t give concerts, can’t perform on television or radio. You’d be surprised at how often the rock-biopic-without-the-music form has been used in recent years. How does he come up with Ziggy? Production companies: Salon Pictures, Wildling Pictures, in association with Film Constellation 4:35 PM PDT 4/16/2020 But given the excitement of the subject, what a prosaic and sodden journey it is! Netflix Raises Price of Standard Monthly Plan in U.S. to $14 per Month, Val Kilmer’s Smokin’ ‘Entourage’ House in Altadena Hits the Market, Surprise: These Early Black Friday Deals Just Went Live Ahead of Schedule, You Can Now Buy a New Edition of the Insanely Popular Helmut Newton Book ‘Sumo’, Steve Cohen Approved as New York Mets’ New Owner, de Blasio Supports, The Best Men’s Christmas Pajamas for Spreading Holiday Cheer Around the Clock. The dynamic that shapes much of the narrative is the predictable road-trip bridging of distance between peppy, doggedly optimistic Ron and aloof David, who drapes himself over the backseat of the publicist's beat-up Ford station wagon and stares out the window in a petulant funk. Boy meets girl. Though underplayed – the spark of inspiration for Ziggy is never really pinpointed – there’s a moment which artfully captures an awakening at the core of Bowie as chameleonic alien godhead. In reality, “All the Madmen” lacks a killer hook; it sounds like Jethro Tull backing an overly twee glam choirboy. Even when Flynn does get to perform a song associated with Bowie, like Brel's "Amsterdam," it's almost a background throwaway. © 2020 The Hollywood Reporter Production designer: Aidan Leroux Malone brings a fizzy shot of fashionable decadence and naked ambition to her every scene. Music: Anne Nitikin The elephant in the screening room is the lack of actual Bowie songs. Editor: Chris Gill | Cookie Settings. Boy kidnaps fallen star, who also happens to be a girl, to impress the first girl. Thus, both Tristan and his father commit fornication, and the fiercesome pirate captain turns out to be a cross-dressing homosexual. Costume designer: Julia Patkos But the more significant interaction is the one playing out inside David's head as he struggles with what he believes is his inevitable descent into mental instability. Leading the charge on that front is Bowie's first wife Angie (Jena Malone), a swinging glamourpuss who has mapped out a path for them as rock royalty and did not sign up for obscurity. Reviews Film Reviews ‘Stardust’ review: David Bowie biopic delves deep into the genesis of an icon Johnny Flynn plays Starman in a revelatory road trip movie that lacks its subject's music All rights reserved. The world's defining voice in music and pop culture since 1952. The film didn’t include a single Hendrix track, yet by using carefully chosen cover songs (which Hendrix, at the time, performed a lot of), it channeled his raw psychedelic energy and image-smashing mystique. The actors all do solid work. “Stardust” opens with a title that says “What follows is (mostly) fiction,” and if you want to know how that rather inauspicious promise plays out, it’s there in the moment when Bowie gets up in front of the vacuum salesmen and says, “This is a song by a group I really admire.” He then launches into “Good Ol’ Jane,” which is supposed to sound like it’s by the Velvet Underground (“You got sad eyes, lonely mad eyes, Working for a dollar a day and night, white light”) but doesn’t, really. Variety and the Flying V logos are trademarks of Variety Media, LLC. Moran is responsible for much of the film's warmth and energy, playing a mensch whose genuine belief in the young Bowie's genius is sorely tested. Boy must protect star from evil witch who would like to eat the star’s heart, and from princes who want her jewelry. And Flynn (seen lately as Mr. Knightley in Emma) finds layers of vulnerability beneath the poseur simultaneously convinced of his own fabulousness yet needled by crippling doubts. Johnny Flynn, the British actor and musician who plays the 24-year-old Bowie, was 36 when he took on the role, and though he does a good impersonation of Bowie’s courtly melodious verbal inflections, and looks like him (sort of) when he grins, he lacks Bowie’s insolence, his sinewy decadent insinuation. Distribution: IFC (in theaters and on demand) A biopic about the young David Bowie (but without any Bowie songs) captures him on a 1971 road trip across America, when he was still putting together the insinuating image puzzle that would become Ziggy Stardust.
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