Velvet Goldmine - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Velvet Goldmine Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ March 31, 2007
interesting but flawed - frustratingly got a couple things right... just listen to the the records.
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2012
A reporter investigates the life and legend of a glam rocker who faked his death years ago.
Todd Haynes's distinct style of flashy costumes and gay sexuality is on full display in this film. The musical numbers blend in, and the film seems like a chronicle of a sexually free bygone era, one that the director delights in. However, what's left behind is the story. The mystery of Brian Slade's "death" and disappearance takes a back seat to Haynes's love letter to the time, and no compelling dramatic questions emerge.
Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Christian Bale all fully commit to their roles' demands, and Haynes's skill with actors reminds me of Oliver Stone's: these are directors who get stars to do things that stars don't normally do.
Overall, I think Velvet Goldmine is a for a niche audience, like most of Haynes's work, and one who is invested in the time and the feeling of the time can find things to like, but for those of us looking for a compelling narrative, Velvet Goldmine doesn't have much to offer.
Evan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Super Reviewer
April 16, 2007
It doesn't take a genius to piece this alternate history together: Curt Wild = Iggy Pop, Brian Slade = David Bowie and Jack Fairy = Lou Reed. But if this is a biopic, it's a capital-Q Queer one, which I mean in the academic sense, playing with the performed identities of these performers, hyper-exaggerated as they would have been in the heyday of Glam Rock.

While staying mostly in the past - recollected sequences coming through interviews performed by a journalist (Christian Bale) - the film's "present" is also intriguing, as we see Bale's character relive his coming of age and his struggle with the realization that he is gay, and we see how his obsession with the music and performers of the day opened the door. By exaggerating the performed identity, the moderate version (i.e., merely being gay and not straight) begins to appear to be a tenable position, and the music inspires a new confidence in our hero - even though the ambivalent, "anything goes" approach to sex, drugs and rock and roll had varyingly destructive side-effects for the performers. An eye-opening early film from Todd Haynes that plays in the same way that his later Dylan flick, I'm Not There, did, and a visually lush and viscerally challenging movie, a gem that was overlooked in those bubblegum late 90s, Provocative work.
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2011
Brian Slade: Man is least himself when he talks in his own person... Give him a mask and he'll tell you the truth. 

"The Rise Of A Star... The Fall Of A Legend."

I strongly dislike Velvet Goldmine to the point where it was hard for me to get through the whole thing. I had to fight the urge to turn it off about five or six times. The film has a lot of style, but absolutely no substance. It's a two hour film, with little more than fancy clothes, makeup, and endless concert scenes. There's very little actually here. If it had been 20 to 30 minutes shorter, it would have been tolerable. At the length it runs, it is just a complete mess and a waste of time. Style over substance can work in little doses, but not for two straight hours.

I'm not even going to go into plot other than that it is about a glam rock star who fakes his own death. There's many themes that are touched on, but never explored to make the movie more than what it is. Homosexuality, drug abuse, and even the fake death are all themes, but they never realized for what they are. This is supposed to be a look behind what we see in a rock star, but it never really cares to go deep into the psyche or personality of its star Brian Slade.

Velvet Goldmine turns out to be nothing more than a stylistic mess, with little to no redeeming value. The three performances from great actors like Jonathan Rhys Myers, Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale aren't enough to save this disaster. I really thought I would like it, but the interesting premise is completely wasted. 
Super Reviewer
February 8, 2009
i don't understand this kind of movie. if you take away the makeup, Bowie impersonation and bisexuality, you're not left with much. just Christian Bale. actually, thats enough for me. three stars!
Super Reviewer
September 4, 2010
Jonathan Rhys Meyers leads a talented group of actors in this fantastic glam rock spectacle. Everything about this film set primarily in the 70s is decadent, and over the top: the music, the clothing, the sexual freedom, the drug abuse, and all the excesses of life. Toni Collete, Ewan McGregor and Christian Bale were all fabulous, but this film belongs to Meyers. He was the epitomy of the overindulgent rock star. And the soundtrack to this film is brilliant.
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2010
Definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. It had the ability to move in and out of conscious plot development that made me feel like i was listening to a song rather than watching a movie.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2010
I watched this years ago and it was certainly visually striking. Interesting. I think I need to watch it again....
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2009
I really enjoyed the visual style of this movie. It captured the 70s era of glam rock perfectly and the social/sexual revolution it produced. It is perfectly acted by Johnathan Rys Meyers and Ewan McGregor, who embody the skewed versions of David Bowie and Iggy Pop quite well.
Super Reviewer
½ June 27, 2008
Fictional rock biopic follows the life of musician Brian Slade, based upon the life of David Bowie. Stylish period film beautifully recreates the British glam rock scene of the early '70s. Sountrack features a pulsating score with dozens of performances of both new songs written for the film as well as actual compositions from the period. It all can get a bit MTV-style-over-substance at times, but visually striking film is so lavish and decadent, it succeeds in spite of itself. Director Todd Haynes clearly has a real love for the material that makes the film captivating. Sandy Powell rightfully received an Oscar nomination for her outstanding costumes.
Super Reviewer
September 12, 2009
Glamourous; Rhys Meyers and McGregor are interesting to see together. Izzard and Collette make for some wicked characters for the background and a smashing soundtrack, no less. Bale, pre-laryngitis...not unlikeable at all.

Not to mention Placebo being in this = SWEET.

A really cool look into the story of glam-rock...normally not my scene, but the film portrayed it in a really interesting light.

I concur with Freakeh, TOTAL TRIP. LOL. [review TBC]
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2008
Just re-watched this, hoping I would feel differently about it.
It has all the makings of a film that I should have loved...but I still only "like" it.

While it really does seem to capture the FEEL of the whole "glam rock" period. And I do find most of the visual and musical aspects of the film to be BRILLIANT...I still feel that the story (ultimately) does not flow very well at all.
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2007
It was okay, it was cool looking but two hours of glam rock got old after a while. And since I've seen Christian Bale in such roles as Batman and the Machinist, it was hard for me to take his youthful, androgynous, bisexual or whatever character seriously.
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2007
I like this movie and not for the scene where McGregor fucks Rhys-Meyers on the roof.
Super Reviewer
June 28, 2007
One of my favorites for the 70's music alone. The music infuses every scene as it weaves its fascinating tale of a glittery rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) who quickly rose to fame and then faked his own assassination, only to crash and disappear. The mystery is being investigated by a reporter, Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) who grew up during that period and got involved with some of the players. In Citizen Kane style, he interviews those who might know where Brian Slade disappeared to, including his former manager (Michael Feast), ex-wife (Toni Collette), and former music partner and lover, Kurt Wild (Ewan McGregor). It's told slightly out of order, but is logically easy to piece together. In the background are other interesting characters like Brian's new manager Jerry Divine (Eddie Izzard) and Jack Fairie (Micko Westmoreland), the King of Glam. All elements (costumes, music, design, script, actors) assemble a colorful collage of the Glam-Rock scene. I completely loved the look and flow of this movie, even when the fun ended. When it is revealed what happened to Brian Slade, it all makes perfect sense; I wasn't disappointed. This ranks as one of my top films for its brilliance and spectacle.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2006
If you're a big glam rock fan you'll probably love this. The scene where Obi-Wan Kenobi and Batman have butthole pleasures together was a little out there but it was a pretty cool movie.
Super Reviewer
December 24, 2012
A passable if not perfect depiction of the glam rock era. David Bowie deserves a better recollection of his past.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2010
Looking back to 1998, this movie probably was a whole lot cooler when it came out. I don't think it stands the test of time though, unlike a Rocky Horror Picture Show or Sid & Nancy. It would have been cool if Bowie would have just gotten involved in the process, instead of suing them to remove enough likenesses to make it make it foggy. I could see how people who are experiencing homophobia and the pressure to fit in would really identify with what the characters, especially Christian Bale's, are going through, and what a Pop sensation like David Bowie meant to them.
Super Reviewer
½ March 8, 2006
AVOID IT. Despite various interesting events - this film feels as hollow as its unidimensional characters. It fails to evoke the thing that made Bowie interesting - his talent. Perhaps the potential lawsuit from Bowie helped to make this such a poor film. Either way, this is a tedious film.
Super Reviewer
December 10, 2007
Todd Haynes delivers yet another masterful piece of genious art in yet another piece of genious film made better by his genious filmmaking and I can't stop saying what a genious he is.
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