Moonage Daydream (2022)
September 20, 2022 5:09 PM - Subscribe

A cinematic odyssey featuring never-before-seen footage exploring David Bowie's creative and musical journey.

Recent FPP

90% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes

Written, directed, and produced by Brett Morgen, this is the first film sanctioned by the Bowie Estate.

Currently in theaters.
posted by potrzebie (6 comments total)
I just saw this and I think I hated it? If I had watched it as a stoned teenager it would have absolutely changed my life. But alas, I watched it as a sober mid-thirties suburban mom who took the afternoon off to catch a matinee while my kids were still in school, and it mostly just bummed me out. He was so beautiful, inside and out, but so hard to grab hold of, and this film's attempt didn't land for me. I don't know that I would have made a better Bowie documentary, but I'm dead certain I wouldn't have made this one. I hope the Bowie Estate had a good enough experience doing this (and sees good enough box office numbers) that they let other filmmakers at the subject. I would love to see more traditional documentaries about specific phases or albums or relationships. There's so much there.

When I got in my car to drive away, though, "Fame" was playing on the radio. Can you believe it? That surprise almost redeemed the whole experience.
posted by potrzebie at 5:20 PM on September 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

I loved this, although I was exhausted by the end of it. Many of the reviews that I've read have dinged the film for failing to say anything "new" about Bowie, but I'm ok with that; I've been interested in Bowie since seeing him on SNL with Klaus Nomi when I was a child, but I'm not super familiar with the interviews that mostly provide the verbiage here, so I still appreciated the approach of letting the man speak for himself, more or less.

A couple of things that struck me in particular: first, that some of his remarks from earlier in his career seem to me to confirm a suspicion I've had for a long time, that Bowie was familiar with the history and ideas of ceremonial magic in what's loosely referred to as the Hermetic tradition, by folks who believe in that kind of thing.

And secondly: shortly after Bowie's death, I saw of video of David Byrne leading a crowd through a sing-along to "Heroes", and then saw a couple of assertions in various publications that the two of them were friends. The movie didn't do anything to confirm THAT, but it did make it very easy to understand how that might have come about. Both of them seem to have survived a very alienated youth and young adulthood, and to have arrived into much happier circumstances as they got older. I can imagine them having a lot to talk about from middle age forward.
posted by Ipsifendus at 2:17 PM on September 21, 2022 [1 favorite]

Saw this last night, and definitely agree with "exhausted". I enjoyed it, but when he got to the "I'm 33" part I was like, oh shit, does this go in chronological order and we're only at 33 years old? I'm ready for this movie to start wrapping up! Fortunately it did not spend an equal amount of time on every phase of his life/career.

I liked the mood-setting eye candy & interleaved movie clips, many of which had nothing directly to do with David Bowie. I'm not particularly a cinephile so there were plenty of unknowns for me, but recognising the ones I did was fun - oh look, there's Metropolis again! Anybody have a list of those? They were all mentioned in the credits but, y'know, I wasn't taking notes.
posted by inexorably_forward at 5:49 PM on October 1, 2022

You know what, after letting this mellow in my head for a couple of weeks I feel it's opened up a lot (you know, like a fine wine) and become less of a disappointing melange and more of an impressionistic landscape of sounds and images that hangs together better in hindsight. I didn't enjoy it much while it was going on but it left a nice little footprint in my mind. I'm glad I made the time to go see it, although I'm still not sure I would recommend it to a friend.
posted by potrzebie at 10:36 PM on October 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

I get why people hate this: the repetitions, the multiple layers of sound, the ambiguous sources of visuals, the lack of a single narrative thread. It's a chaotic document that doesn't care if you don't know what you're looking at, and doesn't mind splicing together footage from 40 years apart along with B-roll and abstractions.

But I think, as with Montage of Heck and Cobain, Brett Morgen is after something very specific and difficult to capture: An experience of being alive in a particular way. With Cobain, his thesis was that Cobain was 1) wired funny, probably hyperactive; and 2) mortally afraid of being humiliated. So he made a movie that embodied both sensations and let them play out to their inevitable conclusion.

Here, I think he found Bowie to be both a Spaceman (detached from humanity, on the outside of shared experience) and a Seeker (driven towards a transcendent energy he could not name — something to do with flux and chaos). You fuel a movie on but impulses and this is what you get.

You could make a much more coherent and comprehensive narrative of the external events of Bowie's life, but why bother? Morgen is after a deep connection with what Bowie is about, as he lived it. How will we ever know if it's accurate? We won't — but I suspect Bowie himself, watching it, might have smiled and said "something like that, yes."

Writing the day after, I find myself moved and energized, and 1 out of 100 movies do that to me.
posted by argybarg at 8:10 AM on October 16, 2022

Wow, it so unimpressed me I opted out about an hour in. I think the film was more about the director than it was David.
posted by Ber at 4:32 AM on January 4, 2023

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