I just watched Velvet Goldmine - kind of a glam rock career-crash story, and kind of a three- (or nine-)way love story, and I'm sure a parable about something though I'm not entirely sure what (possibly the failure of the 70s to successfully change the world). And there seem to be aliens and a glowing pin that somehow improves your appearance? Or something.
yes, it's that confusing. It stars Ewan McGregor, Jonathon Rhys-Myers, and Christian Bale. Ostensibly Bale plays a journalist who's looking into the ten-years-back career-ending faked death of the glam rock idol (Brian Slade) played by Rhys-Myers. In a more interesting and personal aspect of the story, the journalist, Arthur Stuart, was present on the scene ten years back as a confused teenager being highly affected by the life and performances of Slade, and especially his public relationship with another rock star, Curt Wild, played by McGregor. Most of the movie is presented in flashbacks by various characters.
McGregor gives a very strong performance, Rhys-Myers not so much (Bale is so-so. I kept going back and forth between "hate him" and "oh, now this part works."). The movie gets substantially better toward the end where Bale and McGregor get more screen time and Rhys-Myers less. There is, as I was told, a full-frontal-nudity segment involving McGregor (on stage, jumping around in a frenzy, fairly early on in the movie), which was not half as enjoyable to me as a scene later where the two rock stars are shown sleeping naked in bed together, which was more sensual and real. A lot of it is purposefully surreal though, and that's interesting if you let yourself go with it and dificult if you try to follow it as a straightforward story.
Toni Collette is also in the cast in a fairly decent role as Slade's wife. Eddie Izzard plays one of his managers and I was delighted to recognize him there - he does a very nice job.
The tag line for the movie bills it as "The Rise Of A Star... The Fall Of A Legend!" which so far as I can tell is nearly totally off in terms of what the movie's about or what you might get out of it. My favorite scenes are probably the one where Wild cuts into a highly staged sort of press interview to toast Slade as "the loveliest man in Europe." and one near the end where the journalist is talking to Wild about what happened. (dialogue confirmed by IMDB.)
CW: "We set out to change the world... ended up just changing ourselves."
AS: "What's wrong with that?"
CW: "Nothing, if you don't look at the world."
I guess I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't ready to slow down and be somewhat introspective and surreal - and suffer through painfully long music-video segments with the angry-looking intense Rhys-Myers in various attempts at sexy over-the-top Glitter. But at some level, I would recommend it. I'm glad to have seen it, I find, in the end.