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Velvet Goldmine

A movie directed by Todd Haynes

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Glitter and Glam

  • May 25, 2007
"Velvet Goldmine"

Glitter and Glam

Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride

"Velvet Goldmine" is impressive in the way it includes Oscar Wilde, his philosophies about art and his fascination with music. Even though Wilde is not a character in the film his presence is felt throughout. He is referenced throughout.
Curt is both a composite of Iggy Pop and Wilde--he is an artist as he creates music and Brian Slade is Dorian Gray. He throws his entire persona out there and into his music and traps himself into his own being. Because he has trapped himself, he leaves no room for growth. When he is pseudo-shot, he is arranging his own future. His sham death liberates him and secures him a place in history. He was controversial and bared all in his work and this is what deprived him of longevity. His popularity undoubtedly would have paled and he eventually would be forgotten. If he had changed, everything about him would have changed and he would be regarded as having sold out. By inaugurating his death, he guarantees himself an eternity.
This is not just a film--it is an experience. "Velvet Goldmine" has a sense of erotic innocence and therefore becomes a triumphant motion picture. It explores the effect of glam and the way it influenced the world view toward homosexuality.
There were two instances of a vivid evocation of gay life. The first is when the narrator is watching Slade on TV and he announces that he is a homosexual. The narrator fantasizes about pointing to the TV in front of his parents and saying "That's me". The second comes when the narrator buys his first Brian Slade album and a magazine with an article about Slade. He uses them as material to masturbate over.
The glam rockers changed the world when they brought to the world images that had been unthinkable images at that time. By doing so they eased life for gay men--they created a language that made it easier to explain ourselves to others. Their music can hardly be separated from the gay aspects of it.
The movie is stunning to watch and the imagery stays long after the movie is over. Sure, it is a surreal view of glam rock but so what? It is entertainment. It may be over the top and campy and excessive but it works beautifully.

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More Velvet Goldmine (1998 movie) reviews
Quick Tip by . October 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I tried multiple times to review it but never could find a way in. It is a early glam-rock version of Citizen Kane. The structure is that strong. And the 4 principles are fantastic. I can't rate it higher because when it gets draggy it gets reeeeeeealll draggy.
review by . June 05, 2010
Now I know what you all are thinking..... what is this?? Well I am going to add a review for it later this week so be looking for it, but I love this movie. It is all about Glam Rock over in England. It is just a staple for me in my movie rotation!......    I was first introduced to this movie because of my unnatural love of Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. But I was pleasantly shocked a year or so later when I sat down to watch Batman Begins to recognize Christian Bale's …
review by . December 26, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Acting, lighting, story, music      Cons: Some scenes are odd and hard to determine if 'true' or part of the pretention.      The Bottom Line: The performances by the principles alone is enough, but the general story is also compelling.      Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.      When pretention becomes all the rage what does the new wave have to turn to—and …
review by . April 12, 2005
Pros: eye candy, a couple of songs     Cons: confusing, boring, unappealing message, most songs bland, unsympathetic characters     The Bottom Line: Ewan McGregor's bottom line is lovely, but the rest of the movie is pretty lame.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. The first thing I heard about Velvet Goldmine was that it features Ewan McGregor naked, which was enough of a reason to make me want …
About the reviewer
Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #84
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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About this movie


Loosely based on the experiences and personalities of David Bowie and Iggy Pop, VELVET GOLDMINE is a wild, glitter-laced trip through the 1970s era of Glam rock. Fictional characters Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) and Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor) are personifications of Glam rock's ideals, with the mysterious and androgynous Slade balanced by the intense, raucous Wild. When Slade disappears, the era itself seems to melt away, swallowed up by the slick 1980s. But Slade's story, and the story of Glam rock, is retold when journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) is assigned to discover what really happened to Slade. Through his own memories of this time, Arthur faces his childhood fears and fantasies. With a nod to Oscar Wilde, a CITIZEN KANE-like structure, and an overall sumptuous atmosphere, VELVET GOLDMINE is director Todd Haynes's unique look at homosexuality, indulgence, and, most importantly, rock & roll.
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Director: Todd Haynes
Genre: Drama
Release Date: November 6, 1998
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: James Lyons, Todd Haynes
DVD Release Date: May 18, 1999
Runtime: 2hrs 3min
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