Saturday, 23 May 2015

David Bowie Is: Film Review

David Bowie Is: Film Review


Directors: Hamish Hamilton, Katy Mullan

There's no denying that David Bowie is a musical icon.

From Ziggy Stardust to Major Tom, his influence is everywhere.

And it's quite clear that the V &A Museum is aware of how this icon shines years after first appearing on the scene, which has led them to collecting together an exhibition dedicated to Bowie, which is currently touring globally.

So, it's no surprise then that this film is simply no more than a guided tour of the exhibition from its curators, designed to give those who can't afford to travel to the locales a chance to revel revel (sorry) in its finer parts.

The co-curators introduce the film before really conducting the kind of tour you'd normally pay cash for to see and would be given headphones for - and to be honest, your tolerance for the movie will really rely on how much you want to see the Bowie ephemera in all its glory.

It turns out Bowie is a hoarder, so with sketches, drawings, musings and material from his own archive, there's certainly plenty of material to help this tour and to immerse you in his life. But the problem is that the whole piece feels like a lecture on Bowie and a somewhat dry one at that.

A few stylistic touches impress, such as a freeze-frame effect of punters in the hallways / in front of the exhibits as the camera ducks and dives through them and weaves into the exhibits, giving the feel of depth.

But, despite the fascinating wealth of material and the clips, it's still nothing close to a Bowie biography and it's still, at the end of the day, a tour of an exhibition. It's a little too aloof to be so fully immersive and perceptive.

Perhaps more of a curio than a revelation into Bowie, David Bowie Is represents little more than a tantalising glimpse beneath the surface of the Thin White Duke rather than a full on deep-dive into what makes the man.

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