Posts Tagged ‘Bret Morgan’


135 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

I was always aware of David Bowie, but never a fan, exactly.  Saw him perform during the Ziggy Stardust tour of ’72, but as the years passed found myself more of a Springsteen guy.

Still, Bowie has lurked on the periphery of my cultural consciousness, occasionally moving in to take a place of some prominence before receding once more.

The doc “Moonage Daydream,” though, has given me a new appreciation of the self-described Thin White Duke.  It may be time for a fresh  immersion in all things Bowie.

Written and directed by Brett Morgan (“The Kid Stays in the Picture,” “Cobain: Montage of Heck”), this is not your conventional documentary bio.

The two-hour-plus film pretty much ignores Bowie’s personal life.  It’s not particularly chronological.  There’s no omniscient narrator guiding us through, no cultural critics rhapsodizing about Bowie’s contributions. The only narration is provided by Bowie himself, culled from dozens of private recordings and public interviews. 

There are, of course, a load of musical performances, but this isn’t a concert film. In fact, Morgan’s guiding premise is that Bowie (who died in 2916 at age 69) was consumed with artistic expression, no matter what the format or packaging.

By “art” I mean not just pop music but also acting, writing, painting, fashion…the guy viewed his entire life as one big act of creation (“I never wanted to appear onstage as myself”). Small wonder he described himself as a “generalist.” 

What Morgan has given us here is a sort of visual/aural acid trip, an impressionistic deluge of images and sounds (Morgan provides the brilliant light-speed editing) that defy rational analysis and asks viewers simply to open up and to absorb the waves of Thin White Dukedom that come percolating out of the screen.

This means that “Moonage Daydream” is not for first-timers looking for a David Bowie survey course.  It’s aimed at fans of longstanding who will immediately recognize  and resonate with key moments from their man’s career, and who will synthesize all this new material into their mental/emotional caches of Bowie-dom.

| Robert W. Butler

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