Velvet Goldmine



I don't really feel I can 'review' this movie objectively since I've attempted to watch it three times and ended up turning it off before the end every time.

 I found it dull, boring, contrived and irritating in the extreme. I know it has a huge fan following within the slash community and I can only guess that other people see something that I've missed completely.

Maybe my lack of any real interest in Ewan McGregor or Johnathan Rhys Meyer might have something to do with it? If you're a fan of these two gentlemen, then you can probably overlook the completely crappy script but alas, I could not.


If anyone would like to send in a positive review I'll willingly put it up!


Thank you to Raonaid for this lucid and thought out review of the movie! --K9

Velvet Goldmine

Review by Raonaid

On one level, I can't argue with K9's reaction to the movie. The first time I watched 'VG' I was puzzled, too. I wrote a well-known Slash author, asking, "But what did the story *mean?!* What was the point of the movie?" And her answer was: "LOL! The point?! The point was to see Ewan McGregor naked!" Well, okay. I guess. But honestly, except for Star Wars, what EG movies don't show him au natural? And it's not like we *see* much m/m interaction. A few longing looks, him kissing Jonathan Rhys Myers, and curled up in bed with him. That's it. The m/m part of the movie is strictly PG, it feels like. We *know* stuff happens, but unlike the m/f stuff, we never see it.

And, like K9 thought, this movie was pretty incoherent. There was a lot of stuff that completely lost me, that I didn't 'get' until I'd seen the movie a few times. It's a shame that so many metaphors and plot arcs are just abandoned and unrealized. What *does* the Oscar Wilde theme mean? 'Cause it seems to just go nowhere. Based upon the opening scene, I was expecting a lot from that pin, expecting there to be some Wilde theme that ties the whole movie together. Alas, no such coherency results. And what the heck *is* the role of Jack Fairy? He starts out as someone important in the movie, and then just disappears. And let's not even get started on the dialog! Talk about incoherent.

Another reason that I didn't like this film was that I hated and loathed the main character of Brian Slade, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He's an arrogant self-absorbed bastard, who screws over his wife and his lover Curt Wild (McGregor). He's a total asshole, and then in the end he's just pathetic, having given up even the integrity of his music, the only 'true' thing about him.

Now, all of that said, here are some reasons why you *should* see this movie:

I was damned impressed by Toni Collette in this movie, who played Mandy Slade, Brian's wife. She plays an American trying to make it in England in the late 60's/early 70's. Since she's Australian, I was pretty impressed with her accent. She did an awesome job! Also, I was blown away by the performance of Christian Bale as Arthur, the young man who was a fan of Slade and Wild in his teens, and became a journalist chronicling them years later. The portrait of a young teenage boy growing up in England and discovering and exploring his own homosexuality from within the Glam Rock scene of the 70's is an honest one. I cared more about Arthur than I did about Slade and Wild. It should have been his movie, and yet his character functions as Christian Slater's did in 'Interview With a Vampire' - just a framing device. That's a shame, since Bale was exceptional here.

And Ewan. while this wasn't his greatest film or anything, and hardly showed off his talents (get this: he was cast as 'a kid from the trailer parks of Michigan'! It's hilarious, since McGregor, unlike Collette, can't drop the accent to save his life), it is required watching for FansOfEwan. The completely weird thing is that he looks like Kurt Cobain throughout the entire movie. Anachronistic that, since it's set in the early 70's and 80's. We also get to see him as the drugged-out-of-his-head rock star of the 70's. That is pretty interesting, I must say. I admit to, shortly after 'Phantom Menace' came out, getting a huge kick out of making friends watch this movie. Their reactions of stunned horror, "Oh my god! Is *that* Obi-Wan Kenobi?!" were rather priceless. <evil grin!>

Also, this movie is absolutely essential to watch if you want to understand the whole 'Sith Academy' fanfic universe ( I'm sure this movie (and 'Trainspotting') are huge reasons why there are so many Obi-Wan slash fics about him as a druggie transvestite rock-music-loving padawan. A lot of Q/O slashfic doesn't make a lot of sense without an understanding of this movie.

Ultimately, however, this movie is about the 70's Glam Rock scene in England. Though it isn't the best of movies, it does do a fair job of capturing that era, what it must have been like to experience that subculture from within. It's worth seeing to get a glimpse of that world and what it was like. This was a culture that was very bisexual, and very open and free with sexuality and its expression. For that reason alone, it's worth studying and learning about.

So, while I *don't* think this movie is the second coming or anything, I do think it's worth watching. Just don't try to understand it or expect anything deep. Style, not substance, is what it's all about.