Moonage Daydream  (15) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Brett Morgen, Germany/US, 2022, 135 mins,

Cast:  David Bowie

Review by Carol Allen

The late David Bowie was a talented man.  He was a song writer, a singer, an actor and a very creative showman.   He could also really get up himself from time to time, and so too does Brett Morgen’s tribute documentary about him.

It starts off definitely a bit on the pretentious side with images of the universe and Bowie’s pronouncements thereon.  We then move into a lot of footage of live concerts from the ZIggy Stardust era and after that settle into a rather erratic albeit colourful and high voltage wander around Bowie’s life and work.

The film concentrates largely on his music.  More concert footage with lots of shots of adoring fans.  Some of the best bits though are clips from revealing and entertaining interviews with Bowie by Mavis Nicholson and particularly Russell Harty, who elicits some witty and revealing remarks – on both sides.

Disappointingly there is little of Bowie’s work as an actor.   A few very short clips from Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (1983) and that’s about it, whereas it would have been good to have been reminded of his performance as Catherine Deneuve’s discarded vampire lover in The Hunger (1983); playing Just a Gigolo (1978) to Marlene Dietrich and his title role as The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976).   He still took acting roles up to two years before his death when other commitments allowed and also gave a Tony winning stage performance as The Elephant Man on Broadway.   But presumably the rights to those performances were not available for Morgen’s film.

References to Bowie’s personal life are also random and somewhat unsatisfying. 

There’s one fuzzy photograph of his parents, along with the information that he was born in Brixton and some pics from his marriage to the model Imran in 1992, along with the implication that this was the first time he was able to give himself to a long term relationship.  No mention however of his ten year marriage to Angie Bowie and their son, the talented film maker Duncan Jones.

A final plus of the film however is some really stunning still shots of Bowie in various poses and outfits.   He really was a very beautiful looking human being.  At over two hours duration the film does rather go on a bit.  However if you are a worshipper at the altar of The Chameleon of Rock, to give him one of his many nicknames, you will have a whale of a time.