An organized riot of images and sounds, “Moonage Daydream” is perhaps the only way a documentary biographer could approach the story of David Bowie. Brett Morgen (“Crossfire Hurricane”) has made his true masterpiece, the perfect film to celebrate a multifaceted life of aesthetic excess.
Morgen pieces together Bowie interviews from every medium imaginable, snippets of Bowie concerts, films and music videos, and clips from most everything that might have influenced David Jones as he invented and repeatedly reinvented himself as David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Major Tom, the Thin White Duke, husband and dad, to infinity and beyond.
He was a Brixton boy who “never became who I should have been.” A “mod” at 14, the King/Queen of Glam at 25, he put on personae, passions, artistic bents and belief systems like he changed hats and hair colors and styles.
“I was a Buddhist on Tuesday and I was into Nietzsche on Thursday,” and that went for everything about his work and interests.
Keaton? Astaire and Rogers? Bing? “2001: A Space Odyssey?” Fashion? Makeup? Kabuki? Mime? Movement? He worked to combine them into the perfect visual line, pose, gesture and an unfathomably wide range of pop band rock styles.
“We we’re creating the 21st century in 1971,” and to the very end, it seemed the world still wasn’t able to catch up with this ethereal sprite of art, image and philosophy.
“Daydream” is a gorgeous, immersive, overwhelming and intimate and in the end simply touching experience, an artist saying “farewell” to his fans, the cosmos and the culture he bent to his musical, visual, androgynous will.
If you greet “Moonage Daydream” and Bowie on his terms, you can’t help but be moved.
It’s almost too much and never quite enough. So stay through the credits.
Rating: PG-13 for some sexual images/nudity, brief strong language and smoking.
Cast: David Bowie
Credits: Scripted and directed by David Bowie, a Neon release.
Running time: 2:15