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Velvet Goldmine

USA 1998. Director: Todd Haynes
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Toni Collette, Christian Bale, Eddie Izzard

The daring Dylan portrait I’m Not There was not Todd Haynes’s first audacious experiment with the fragmented identity/image/myth of a rock-and-roll chameleon. Velvet Goldmine, the director’s feverish, phantasmagorical third feature, is a glittery reinvention of Citizen Kane by way of Ziggy Stardust. Set in the glam-rock 1970s, and structured in Kane-style flashbacks, it casts Christian Bale (who also appears in I’m Not There) as a journalist who, from the vantage point of a grimly Orwellian 1984, sets out to investigate the disappearance, ten years before, of a David Bowie-like rocker named Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Ewan McGregor plays outlandish American singer Curt Wild, the Iggy Pop-like figure who inspired Slade. “Dazzling surreal ... The astounding Haynes brilliantly re-imagines the glam-rock ’70s as a brave new world of electrifying theatricality and sexual possibility” (Janet Maslin, New York Times). “Partly a film à clef which translates real-life events and personalities into a dazzling fiction, partly an unsentimental celebration of an era of (potential) pan-sexual liberation, and partly a typically Haynesian study of transgression, identity, and the gulf between private and public image, it’s superbly shot, edited, and performed, and exhilaratingly inventive throughout” (Geoff Andrew, Time Out). Colour, Blu-ray Disc. 123 mins.

 

REVIEWS

"In re-creating an era as a gorgeous carnal dream, Haynes celebrates the art of the possible."

Rolling Stone | full review