Velvet Goldmine - C
Viewed Nov 7, 1998 at Lincoln Square

Todd Haynes' two hour long valentine to glam rock is all glitter and nail polish, but is saddled by such an incoherent narrative that the only thing it left with me was a desire to get the film's soundtrack. Haynes has talent, to be sure, and some of the performance vignettes are highly entertaining on their own; but the film gets immensely dull whenever the soundtrack takes a break. Blame it partly on the actors -- the only one who registers anything is Ewan McGregor, who as Curt Wild, doesn't give a performance of much depth, but he makes up for it with a sorely-needed boost of energy. (It's a damn shame he'll likely be too old when the inevitable Cobain biopic gets made, as he'd be perfect for the part.) And then there's the script, with kitchen sink on page 95. Haynes seemingly took every single idea he had about the project, both good and bad (Oscar Wilde as a space alien?), and threw it up on the screen. The result is a mess, with several characters such as Jack Fairy who seem to be important to the whole thematic structer of Goldmine but waft through the film like phantoms. As tributes to glam rock go, listen to REM's "The Wake-Up Bomb" -- it says pretty much everything Haynes' film does (to wit: glam rock was kinda cool), and it's 115 minutes shorter.

P.S. Does anyone else think hiring Carter Burwell to compose the score and then give him virtually nothing to do is a perverse waste of talent?