Untitled David Bowie/IMAX Project (\N)

A cinematic odyssey exploring David Bowie's creative and musical journey. From visionary filmmaker Brett Morgen, and sanctioned by the Bowie estate.
  • 7.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2019-03-19 Added:
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10 / 10

It's not a biography, it's a senses attack.

Saw this in IMAX 2d. Loud, vivid, it's not a biography, it's an exploration and celebration of Bowie's life, art, and music. Made up of clips cleverly edited together and enhanced to make this a cinematic experience . See it as big and loud as you can and get lost in Bowie. It needs to be three hours longer to fit in everything the stuff others are moaning about not being there. I'd happily have done another 3 hours of this. Came out wanting to listen to all the album's again and smoke cigarettes and bleach my hair and wear a raincoat. Everything i wanted to be in the eighties, I want again after watching Bowie come to life once more.

7 / 10

Different, but fitting, overview of one of the greats

'Moonage Daydream' is a not-really-documentary about David Bowie, as it doesn't follow the traditional talking heads of friends, family and colleagues. It's also not a concert film, although it does have some live concert footage, apparently much of it previously unseen. Directed by Brett Morgen (who did 'Montage of Heck' about Kurt Cobain and 'Crossfire Hurricane' about The Rolling Stones), it's also not wall-to-wall songs - I'd say there were only ~10 songs played in full, with lots of others used as transitions.

The film does well to show his impact on his fans, with bits and pieces from outside shows and plenty of crowd closeups during the live bits. There's plenty of archival Bowie interviews, much of it overlaid with other visuals of him or with the psychedelic "screensaver"-type CGI. It's edited well, so it feels like he's talking directly to you, rather than an interviewer. Lots of his other art - paintings, video-snippets, dance - edited in too.

It's sort-of chronological, starting in ~'72 and the Ziggy Stardust era, covering up to the early '90s, but some of the interviews jump to an older Bowie, so he can juxtapose himself and some of the comments/views from his younger self. He was certainly a bit of a mystery and for a lot of the film comes across as someone just trying to find his place in the world. Good to see some of his reasoning around certain things and his genius definitely shines through. Hard to believe he's already been gone almost 7 years.

7 / 10

An assault on the senses

There's much to like here. Visually interesting and it gave me a deeper appreciation of Bowie as a person. Some very sage quotes and sound bites. At one point I felt quite sad and thought Bowie was quite lonely/dissatisfied with life, but then the film ended with some brilliant statements from the man himself.

But. It was a bit of a mess with the story telling. Jumped about quite a bit and I can't help but feel it missed the last 15 years of his life? I also think it was too long and could've been easily less than 2 hours.

Interesting watch but not one I'd go back to. Definitely a one-time experience.

10 / 10

Montage Daydream

David Bowie Moonage Daydream. 2hours 18 mins of Bowie, it's not your usual " talking heads" bigging up some old/ dead/ has been rock star who has a reissued album to flog. It's just Bowie, well it isn't? It's a beautifully compiled fast edited montage of Bowie, his music, visuals, interviews both on screen on audio and various clips of his many many influences. What I learnt about Bowie, he was constantly striving for his art, he was some times lost (mainly during his successful periods) and like all of us he wished could have more time towards the end. Most importantly he was really happy at the end of his life both emotionally, creatively and spiritually. There are loads of previously unseen clips and lots of unheard mixes of songs. Ps I love Bowie, 1980 I bought my first Bowie album on the day of its release (Scary Monsters) and I never looked back. If your not a fan I don't know how you'd take it, it's a fascinating work of art and totally enthralling so I'd give it 10/10 if your not a fan give it a watch and perhaps you'll see why people where heart broken when he passed away. Listen out for "Cygnet committee" there's a lovely choral version at the end, and watch until the end of the credits, David will speak just to you.

8 / 10

Definitely not your average music documentary

It was always going to be hard to capture David Bowie's life and career in documentary format, as even the standard, talking head interviews + archive footage in chronological order would fail to capture all the important information in just over two hours. More troubling, however, is the fact that an ordinary documentary wouldn't do justice to who Bowie was/wasn't/might've been. He had an eccentric and still somewhat mysterious life, adopting different personas that all had some relation to his true self, yet never seemed to perfectly reflect it.

This all makes the fairly abstract approach in Moonage Daydream feel mostly appropriate. The only voiceover you get is from archival David Bowie interviews, and even then are they rarely presented in a way most interviews in documentaries are presented. Right near the end, there's a single shot of Bowie looking just over the camera, at the interviewer, and it's such a jarring moment because of how "ordinary" it looks.

Snippets of interviews are instead mixed with concert footage, archive/news footage, shots from music videos, photos, some animation, and clips from films - some of which starred Bowie. The visual style does feel close to relentless, but never becomes exhausting. For as much as I really liked Brett Morgen's Kurt Cobain documentary from 2015, that one was an assault on the senses at times (but likely intentionally so). Moonage Daydream is a little mellower and less in your face, but I think it lacks the hard-hitting emotion of Cobain: Montage of Heck.

For as great as Moonage Daydream is at capturing a good deal of Bowie's music and style, I don't think it's a slam-dunk, and part of that comes from it not making me feel as emotional as I'd expected it would. Maybe that was never the intention, and maybe instead, things were purposefully kept a little abstract. Still, it never went so far as to feel cold or too distant, and it remained engaging at a relatively lengthy 135 minutes (the perfect length; I think any longer and it may have become fatiguing).

I don't think all David Bowie fans will love this, because it doesn't always explain events clearly and spends a good deal of time on some of the less well-known periods of his life. But if you approach it with the knowledge that it's not an "ordinary" documentary the same way your average Bowie album is not an "ordinary" album, you should find a good deal to appreciate and enjoy.