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I'm going to be bluntly honest here -- I was hugely disappointed by Velvet Goldmine.

I haven't seen any of Todd Hayne's other work, and maybe doing that would have prepared me for how disjointed this film was, but reviews of it seem to indicate it's a lot more ambitious than other things he's done, which lends to the general disarray. I enjoyed the beginning for what it was, which appeared to be a slightly bizarre treatise on a race of aliens who send their children to Earth to be popstars. There's an appealing crackiness to even that plot summary, but after ten minutes or so, the movie dives away into one of the dozen other things it's trying (and failing) to accomplish).

There are a number of talented actors in the movie, too, but none of them are doing their best work. Christian Bale was practically phoning it in before he had a career to fall back on, Eddie Izzard is misused, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers appears to be there to look dreamy. (He is very dreamy. That doesn't excuse it.)

The movie comes across as a mix of a satire of mockumentaries, an artsy thriller, and Christian Bale's audition tapes for Batman. Admittedly, I would happily watch each of those individually, but together they don't create anything compelling. I didn't have the patience for the fractured narratives, or the parade of two-dimensional, obvious pastiche characters. For a movie with this much cult credit, it's oddly boring.

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scriptamanet

January 2012

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