I seriously got a headache after watching Velvet Goldmine. I’m not really sure if it’s because of the never-ending flashbacks or just too much rock and roll. But I guess there can never really be just too much rock and roll. After all, rock and roll is unsurprisingly excessive and grand. Perhaps the confusion brought about by the numerous story jumps made a shimmery blur of everything. All of these gave me a sneak-peek into what the glam-rock era was all about, apart from being the movie with the most glitter, make-up and boys in tight bottoms I have ever seen.
The soundtrack was obviously perfectly apt for the movie. It supported the life evoked by the wide array of colors that can be seen throughout the movie. It completes the glam-rock vibe and makes it real for the viewer, at least in my opinion. In other words, it was what made the film go full circle, somehow allowing the viewer to get an almost complete experience.
Even though it may seem that the film concentrates on, and is so caught up in the whole shebang of the music industry, it is crucial to note the relationships between the various characters are given emphasis because they are all pretty much intertwined in the industry of music, if not wanting to get involved in it. It is the music (not really in its physical sense) that highlights these relationships and even the one responsible for making a spark out of them to begin with.
The characters are all so complicated and quite difficult to read and predict. Perhaps the most collected and normal of them all is the role played by Toni Collette, Mandy Slade. A lot of the flashbacks seen in the whole film were from her point of view – most of which were about the beginning and end of the Brian Slade/Curt Wild relationship, as well as the demise of her own marriage with Brian. Her version appealed to me as the most convincing and credible even though she was quite eccentric herself at first because she showed a significant amount of change as to her attitude towards her husband as their relationships falls to a halt. It is probably due to the fact that she is the one who truly knows the character of Brian Slade the most, even when he was still a puny fan boy until the very end wherein he has already established himself and up to his downfall. A scene I distinctly remember is one where she goes “You live in terror of not being misunderstood.”
The film was chaotic, but in a very artsy way. Some of that confusion and madness was to be expected especially because of its setting. Although I’m not really one to talk about or even at least comprehend the complexities of the relationship of Velvet Goldmine to the life of David Bowie and all other things that come with it, I can say that it was one crazy and yet poetic mess. Truly, it serves as a glimpse into the real world of rock and roll.