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Stardust is a 2020 British-Canadian biographical film about English singer-songwriter David Bowie and his alter-ego Ziggy Stardust. It is directed by Gabriel Range, and produced by Paul Van Carter, Nick Taussig and Matt Code, from a screenplay co-written by Range with Christopher Bell. Johnny Flynn stars as Bowie, alongside Jena Malone and Marc Maron in supporting roles. It was released on November 25, 2020 by IFC Films.
The film centers on Bowie's first tour in the US in 1971 and his creation of the Ziggy Stardust persona following this visit, whilst also showing Bowie's origins.
Why It Sucks
- Horrible grasp of the source material, as it was made against the wishes of David Bowie's family.
- Ron Oberman drops 30 'f' bombs, in real life, Ron never cursed.
- Disgraceful characterizations.
- David Bowie here is dumbed down into a childish, kind of stupid person, lacking any direction or drive.
- Angie Bowie's wig looks kind of ugly, with the unexplained lack of a big bump in her dress. Nothing unites her character while pregnant with the slender post-birth iteration.
- Poor pacing. For example, the film takes a really long road trip with him and his road manager, while his flashbacks and daydreams add up to nothing much.
- There is a constant parade of anecdotes which lead to nowhere, while several music writers pass through to little effect.
- Despite focusing on David Bowie, it uses none of David Bowie's music due to the movie being made without he or his family's permission.
- Poor acting and casting choices.
- The film tries but fails to concentrate on a period in the late David Bowie's career that many fans are fascinated by; as a result, it ultimately boring to watch.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- The soundtrack is fine.
Stardust was met with "generally unfavorable" reviews from critics at review aggregator Metacritic, with a weighted average score of 36 out of 100, based on 15 reviews. According to Rotten Tomatoes, 14% of 43 critics gave the film a positive review, with an average rating of 3.80/10. The critics consensus on the website reads: "Ground control to Major Tom, Stardust did not put its helmet on."
In the NME, Mark Beaumont gave the film four out of five, writing that it worked better as a "revelatory road-trip movie" rather than a biopic. He felt the lack of Bowie's music "robs the film of the sense that Bowie's glowering talent was being criminally ignored".
David Bowie's family didn't approve of the film, due to the poorly adapted screenplay.