REVIEWER: nick tonkin
A cinematic odyssey exploring David Bowie's creative and musical journey.
Moonage Daydream is a documentary of the life and career of the late David Bowie, written, directed, edited and produced by Brett Morgen. It is especially notable for being the first film about Bowie to be authorised by the singer’s estate, and also for using previously unreleased footage from Bowie’s own archives and rare concert footage.
Moonage Daydream creates narration to tell its story, from interviews and recordings of David Bowie over the decades and intersperses them with contemporary concert footage and segments of the singer’s other projects in film and art. Linking these elements and giving the film its peaks of intensity and hallucinatory vibes are bursts of kaleidoscopic visuals, though regular repetition of an image of, presumably a Black Star. The Black Star is a reference to the title of the singer’s final album from 2016 and is used to punctuate these waves and generate a surreal and somber feeling as the film progresses through its chronicle of Bowie’s career.
Moonage Daydream is an intense, exhilarating and exhausting experience. The first hour felt like a welcome descent into some kind of intoxicating and surreal presentation of the character of early David Bowie, through the days of his Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke characters and subsequent years of collaboration with Brian Eno in the 70’s. Given how intense this first segment of the film is, the following 80 minutes does at times begin to feel draining as this intensity doesn’t relent. It feels to me that the film favours those early years more than Bowie’s later periods though this might just be that my ability to take in the experience somewhat diminished after that period had been covered.
An intermission would have done wonders for the experience I’m sure, as Moonage Daydream is a wonderful and creative exploration of David Bowie’s career, one that undoubtedly deserves to be played on the biggest screen possible.