Stardust has a really good idea for a movie: the rise of an insecure musician who strives for fame but, at the same time, is scared of how his lack of identity will ruin him.  If the movie was about an ambiguous celebrity, director Gabriel Range (Death of a President) could’ve had a lot of room to explore the anxieties of fame.  Unfortunately, he’s desperate to crowbar these dilemmas into an unqualified and unauthorized biopic about David Bowie and his transitional period into his Ziggy Stardust persona.

Carrying this misfire is a reliable cast though.  Emma’s Johnny Flynn, as David Bowie, takes a decent approach to a daunting role that doubles down on the musician’s enigmatic qualities, and the supporting cast are all making the best out of their screen time as well.  Comedian Marc Maron portrays Ron Oberman, Bowie’s loyal publicist who champions for his career, with his usual brand of gravely persistence, and the schtick fits well here.

The filmmakers being declined access to Bowie’s musical archives by the musician’s estate is a smudge against the movie’s validity, but the screenwriters Range and Christopher Bell think of a workaround that’s cheeky and obvious, but undoubtably clever.  However, that detail is the only inventive element in Stardust which is, otherwise, a very mediocre biopic with soft edges ala Bohemian Rhapsody.


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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