Velvet Goldmine

Director: Todd Haynes
Year Released: 1998
Rating: 1.5

Music journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) of the Herald is assigned the job of finding out whatever happened to androgynous (and openly bisexual) rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who faked his own death and then vanished - he speaks with a variety of people that were connected to him back at the height of his fame, including miserable ex-wife Mandy (Toni Collette) and former lover Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor).  It's clear that this is a period of time Haynes holds near and dear and it's a labor of love, from the sets to the costumes to the glam-inspired soundtrack (which includes Brian Eno, Thom Yorke, T. Rex and Lou Reed), but the issue is that despite "borrowing" the structure from a certain 1942 Orson Welles film, it's a surprisingly empty and grating movie with characters that are deeply unlikeable.  Slade was apparently modeled after David Bowie (and Wild's based on Iggy Pop), but the Thin White Duke refused to let any of his songs be attached to the project ... and perhaps that's because, unlike the treatment shown here, in real life he was actually an interesting fellow and far more complex than his sexual preferences.  This was a flop when first released, but oh-so-fluid Gen Z has made it a cult favorite: sometimes dudes wearing lipstick is all it takes, ya know?