Velvet Goldmine is a movie I didn’t really like for a lot of reasons.
First of all, I didn’t like the narration style used in the movie. The movie began in medias res of the whole Brian Slade shenanigan when a journalist and former fan, Arthur, decided to find out who Brian Slade really is and the controversy surrounding his life and his obscure death. The movie made use of flashbacks from the interviews of Arthur to develop the characters of Brian Slade, Curt Wild and Arthur Stuart during the glam rock era of the 1970s. Although I have nothing bad to say about this type of plot development, I didn’t like the way the movie used it since there are times when I was not able to determine from whose point of view is a certain scene from, which really gave me a hard time figuring out what the hell is happening especially during the latter part of the movie when everything is being pieced together.
Another thing I hated about the movie’s narration style is the occasional breaking of the fourth wall done by the characters. I really hated these scenes since most of the film has a serious atmosphere and these scenes just destroys the pacing the movie has done for me from the beginning. Although I understand that such scenes were simply put there to add the glam rock spirit to the movie, which makes it random, creative and fabulous, I have felt that the movie is trying too hard to force glam rock into the film, which is not really a bad thing at all. I really just hated it whenever the “forced scenes” distracts me from the general feel the movie has given me from the start. This also gave me a hard time figuring out the validity of several scenes that looked weird and dream-like in the movie.
As for the character development in the movie, I didn’t like how the movie divided its focus on Brian, Curt and Arthur. At first I thought the movie was all about Brian Slade and the rise and fall of his stardom. One hour (or more) later, the Brian Slade character begins to fade and then the movie focused on Curt Wilde. Towards the end of the movie, however, the focus then shifted to Arthur and what happened to him when he met the other glam rock artists. And this really gave me a headache. The earlier parts of the movie was smooth sailing for me. “Ah this is what happens, and this and that and so on and so forth.” The latter parts however didn’t really seem to fit what went on during the earlier parts. The movie spent so much effort trying hard to develop the characters during the earlier parts that they seem to cram the buildup and the climax at the end of the movie, which really disappointed me especially after being lost in the movie.
Like I said, I didn’t really like the movie. However, this is just my personal opinion since I’m not really familiar with glam rock and the Ziggy Stardust incident during the time I watched the film so I didn’t really appreciate the film and what meaning it’s supposed to communicate.