Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Director: Tamra Davis
Year Released: 2010
Rating: 2.0

The life of the talented but tragic American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat (a personal favorite, I must note) gets covered by director Davis - who filmed the artist when she was just a film student in the 1980's - and is a fine chance for people unfamiliar with the man to get a good glimpse of some of his work. The trouble is that with (most) fawning biopics, it's also too into hyperbole and constant praise: Basquiat's serious issues with drugs and complex temperament don't get a whole lot of coverage, and few (if any) say much critical of his lifestyle or his paintings (those critical of him in his lifetime were, apparently, unavailable for comment). I happen to think fellow artist Julian Schnabel's version of Basquiat was a lot more nuanced and objective, and features an absolutely wonderful performance by Jeffrey Wright (inarguably one of our best living actors) as Jean-Michel.