Velvet Goldmine: This film is a must-see if you're a fan of: David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Roxy Music, Brian Eno, or glam-rock in general. If you're not, then I'm not sure if this two-hour journey through the rise and fall of Brian Slade (aka Ziggy Stardust, aka David Bowie) will hold your interest. There's a plot, but it takes some deducing to patch the story of journalist/confused teenager who thinks he's gay Arthur Stuart onto the story of rock star Brian Slade. Stuart is researching Slade's career in an attempt to find out what happened to Slade after his failed publicity stunt of having himself assassinated on stage, which led to the demise of Slade's career. Director Todd Haynes plays very loose with the story of Bowie's career - not even Ziggy Stardust would be so theatrical to fake his death onstage. And Bowie slept with Mick Jagger, not Iggy Pop, who's aggressively heterosexual the last time I checked. But then the gay side of Ewan McGregor's portrayal of Kurt Wild (aka Iggy Pop) is actually based on Lou Reed. In the same way, Bryan Ferry and Brian Eno merged into Jack Fairy, Slade's chief rival in the glam rock sweepstakes. The homosexual overtones are overdone - after all, for every flaming bisexual like Bowie (or tri-sexual, as David Johansen claimed, "I'll try anything") there were three or four glamrockers who amounted to soccer hooligans that clumsily threw on makeup as a goof: Slade (the real life band), Mott the Hoople, the New York Dolls, etc. And the bit about Oscar Wilde being the first pop star and the spaceship is pretentious and doesn't make the least bit of sense. The soundtrack is good, but since Haynes couldn't aquire the rights to Bowie's music, he litters the movie with the next best thing - Roxy Music. Too bad he substituted half the originals with lame remakes, but the likes of "Ladytron" and "Bittersweet" are put to surprisingly poignant use.

Grade: B+

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