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Velvet Goldmine

Release date: October 26, 1998
Directed by: Todd Haynes
Written by: Todd Haynes, James Lyons
Produced by: Christine Vachon
Running time: 124 minutes

In 1984, reporter Artuhr Stuart (Christian Bale) investigates the career and mysterious murder of rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers). Slade was the poster child of the 1970s glam rock, and was heavily influenced in his early years by American rock singer Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor). Both singers were heavy influences on Stuart himself, who's teenage years were accompanied by both artists' music and attitudes. Arthur tracks down both Curt and Slade's wife Mandy (Toni Collette), each giving me a different view on who Briadn Slade was...

Cast & Characters

Ewan McGregor (Curt Wild), Jonathan Rhys Meyers (Brian Slade), Christian Bale (Arthur Stuart), Toni Collette (Mandy Slade), Eddie Izzard (Jerry Devine), Emily Woof (Shannon), Michael Feast (Cecil), Janet McTeer (Narrator), Mairead McKinley (Wilde Housemaid), Luke Morgan Oliver (Oscar Wilde, 8), Osheen Jones (Jack Fairy, 7), Micko Westmoreland (Jack Fairy), Don Fellows (Lou), Ganiat Kasumu (Mary), Ray Shell (Murray), Alastair G. Cumming (Tommy Stone), Jim Whelan (Mr. Stuart), Sylvia Grant (Mrs. Stuart), Lindsay Kemp (Pantomime Dame), Carlos Miranda (Pianist), Sarah Cawood (Angel), David Hoyle (Freddi), Winston Austin (Micky), Justin Salinger (Rodney), Brian Molko (Malcolm), Antony Langdon (Ray), Xavior (Pearl), Steve Hewitt (Billy), Guy Leverton (Trevor), Vinney Reck (Reg), Keith-Lee Castle (Harley), Donna Matthews (Polly Small)

Production Notes

Set in the 1970s, it’s the story of the life, death and resurrection of a glam-rock idol named Brian Slade, played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and probably inspired by David Bowie. After headlining a brief but dazzling era of glitter rock, he fakes his own death onstage. When the hoax is revealed, his cocaine use increases, his sales plummet, and he disappears from view. A decade later, in the fraught year of 1984, a journalist named Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) is assigned to find out what really happened to Brian Slade. Director Todd Haynes has said that the story is also about the love affair between America and Britain, New York and London, in the way each music scene feeds off and influences each other.

Velvet Goldmine received mixed reviews from critics. Janet Maslin of the New York Times called it “dazzlingly surreal” rock version of “Citizen Kane with an extraterrestrial Rosebud” and saying it “brilliantly reimagines the glam rock 70’s as a brave new world of electrifying theatricality and sexual possibility.” According to Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, “it’s a film that works best as a feast of sight and sound, re-creating an era as a gorgeous carnal dream, celebraing the art of the possible.” The film wasn’t successful at the box office, making just $1.5m on a budget of $9m. However, the costumes of “Velvet Goldmine”, designed by Sandy Powell, received an Academy Award nomination as well as a BAFTA Award. Todd Haynes was honored at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for his Artistic Contribution.