In perhaps one of the most inexplicable movies of 2020, filmmaker Gabriel Range managed to make the eclectic, celebrated David Bowie boring.
Perhaps what bothers me most is if this is a swan song to Bowie – who died in January 2016 – it’s admittedly a pretty half-assed effort.
Bowie is known across the globe with a reverence and affection reserved for the rock greats, but writers Christopher Bell and Range himself can’t seem to even cobble together a half-interesting script about his life.
Set around young David’s first U.S. visit in 1971, that would end with the invention of alter ego Ziggy Stardust, there’s almost zero self discovery and intrigue to be had. Johnny Flynn – who I loved in British show Lovesick – is so out of his depth.
He’s a cliche-riddled mess, trading an evocative performance for crass words and silly costumes. In recent years, we’ve seen Rami Malek and Taron Edgerton embody rock titans, but Flynn seems happy to just poorly imitate Bowie here. And that just won’t do.
Jena Malone is boring and shrill as his wife Angie, and the only real bright spot is Marc Maron as publicist Ron Oberman. He seems to really be the only one here who brought the goods.
Stardust isn’t just a bad movie, but for fans of the late icon, this is a lazy effort that doesn’t deserve to bear his name. It’s a shame, but Stardust feels like it’s trying to cash in on the rock biopic crazy without doing any of the work to live up to its revered subject.