Velvet Goldmine is one of those films I’d heard of many times, but had never seen until a few days ago. A while back, a friend suggested it to me, particularly since I am writing about a musician who adopts a rock persona. When another friend brought it up recently, I decided it was time to finally watch it and I’m so glad I did…
I knew this was going to be a meaningful film for me from the start. It begins with a fantasy sequence with a nod to Oscar Wilde. Later on, Dorian Gray, Wilde’s greatest creation is also mentioned, as well as a direct quote from the novel that only those who have read the novel will recognise.
Add a charismatic powerful performance by a young Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who plays the role of Brian Slade with Bowiesque intensity and the earthy rock charisma of Ewan McGregor as Curt Wild and you’ve got an amazing rock film. Anyone who knows their rock music history will also realise the characters are based on David Bowie and Iggy Pop. I read somewhere that it is also a nod to the relationship the UK and US have musically, and how each country has taken musical inspiration from the other and turned it into something new.
The film has a surreal fairy tale feel to it, it made me feel as if I was watching how myths are made. When it ended, I was convinced I’d seen a true story and couldn’t help but wonder where Brian and Curt are today and it left me with a peculiar sense of nostalgia.
There are some great glam rock tracks heard throughout, as well as brilliant original tracks, many sang by Jonathan and Ewan themselves. Needless to say, I’ve ordered the soundtrack of the film as well.
This has become one of my favourite films in a very short period. I keep watching it over and over for there is something in the way the story is told that appeals. I suppose it’s great inspiration for my own novel, and Julian himself could have been a glam rock star if I had chosen my novel to be set in the 1970′s.
Two of my favourite original tracks below…
and the trailer: