Velvet Goldmine uses a vignette structure to establish the story of Brian Slade (Jonathon Rhys-Meyers), an American bi-sexual glam rock star, through the interviews of gay British journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) with people who knew the man during the breadth of his career. As each interviewee begins to recollect, a vignette will show that part of the story, and it showcases a man who became harder and harder to work with over time.
It’s revealed that early on in his life, Slade, after moving to the United States with his then-wife, soon comes into contact with Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor), an American rock singer who’s gay, and the two swiftly become ensconced in each other’s lives, both creatively and romantically, setting Slade ultimately on a dark path.
Although many warn Stuart that the public has little interest in Slade anymore, he continues on his path to try to find Slade, and in doing so finds Wild at one of his favourite pubs. The two talk for a while, and Wild then gives Stuart a memento of his time with Slade, which Stuart initially rejects as being too valuable of an item to just hand away. Wild then leaves, and Stuart realizes that the only motivation he has remaining in his quest for Slade is his own personal satisfaction, and realizes that Wild left the keepsake with Stuart anyway.
“There are moments when Velvet Goldmine threatens to collapse under the weight of writer/director Todd Haynes’ ambition. But, sometimes amazingly, it doesn’t, becoming in the process one of the year’s freshest, most exciting films.”
— Keith Phipps, The A.V. Club
“The music and camera work are dazzling, and the story has solid sociological insights into a fascinating pop-culture period.”
— David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
Did You Know?
Velvet Goldmine used a smattering of glam, punk and other musicians to base the characters off of, most notably a fusion of Lou Reed and David Bowie in the character of Brian Slade, and Iggy Pop with the character of Curt Wild. David Bowie initially disapproved of the film and its many similarities with his life story, and threatened to sue, resulting in substantial rewriters to create more distance between the character and the real man. Review our Gay Themed Films Here