Whereas David Bowie’s status as one of many biggest, most influential musicians of the twentieth century stays unassailable, cynics may ask why we want one other movie about him. There have already been greater than a dozen principally made-for-TV documentaries profiling Brixton-born Bowie, in addition to Gabriel Vary’s misfiring 2020 biopic Stardust and Todd Haynes’ vivid, fictionalised model of Bowie and his glam-rock cohorts in Velvet Goldmine. Crucially, Vary and Haynes weren’t allowed to make use of Bowie’s music. For Moonage Daydream, nonetheless, director Brett Morgen was granted unrestricted entry to the Bowie catalogue and has made essentially the most of this uncommon alternative.
What music it’s, and what magic the American filmmaker weaves with it. We leap between uncommon and, sometimes, never-released archive performances from Bowie’s main excursions. These embrace the Ziggy Stardust Tour in the course of the early ’70s, 1974’s Diamond Canine, and the Critical Moonlight tour of 1983, which adopted the spectacular success of ‘Let’s Dance’, his largest US hit. We gasp at stirring variations of a few of the most anthemic art-pop earworms ever recorded, from ‘Heroes’ to ‘Life On Mars’ to ‘House Oddity’. Full-blooded on-stage renditions apart, there are fragments pumped up, teased and twisted into mash-ups by Morgen, who additionally writes, produces and edits — although the general sonic tapestry is woven with the help of Bowie’s long-time producer and key collaborator, Tony Visconti. All through, Bowie’s narration (culled from varied interviews) performs over the on-screen motion, delivered within the London accent he by no means misplaced by way of all his persona ch-ch-changes.
Immense inventive vitality has been invested in telling Bowie’s story.
The sound, then, is a delight, from the booming ‘Hiya Spaceboy’ over the opening credit onwards, even when some may quibble on the omission of the odd banger (what, no ‘Younger People’?). Visually, immense inventive vitality has been invested in telling Bowie’s story, with hanging animated sequences dotted among the many footage of him prowling the stage in daring glam finery. Searing reds, lush greens, popping purples and flaming oranges abound. There are snippets of Bowie-friendly delights like Metropolis and The Crimson Sneakers, alongside movies he starred in, equivalent to Labyrinth and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. One feels virtually contractually obliged to explain all of it as “kaleidoscopic”.
Morgen’s earlier music docs, Crossfire Hurricane and Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck, supplied revealing portraits, however Moonage Daydream represents a seismic leap ahead in ambition. The first give attention to Bowie’s ’70s output means his fascinating late work is barely uncared for, whereas the shut involvement of Bowie’s property prevents the inclusion of something too controversial. Regardless, that is the definitive Bowie documentary, and appointment viewing for devotees and informal followers alike.