Directed by: Brett Morgen
Distributed by: Neon
Written by Alexander Reams
David Bowie is one of my favorite artists of all time, his music is on a different level, from his early work to the masterpiece and swan song, “Blackstar”- he captured the zeitgeist while also being timeless. So when it was announced that Brett Morgen (“Cobain: Montage of Heck,” “The Kid Stays in the Picture”) would be making a Bowie documentary I was excited. While Morgen excels in capturing Bowie’s presence on Earth, he extends his barely there story to 140 minutes of images that are tied together through a connection to Bowie, but absent of narrative, and that’s perfectly fine. A narrative is not necessary to have a successful documentary, but there has to be some connection to a piece of cinema besides through its subject.
Morgen’s at his strongest with his editing, working through the archives that he was granted access to images, sculptures, footage, and more, and including sequences that are exceptionally filmed and glorious to see on the big screen. However, that’s all they have, and the lack of narrative connection causes the film to drag, making those 140 minutes feel like 280 minutes. This could have been 90 minutes and been a lot more impactful with its storytelling, instead of a fledgling effort to capture the spirit of Bowie but never diving into his true history, opting for Bowie to voiceover random philosophical quotes from himself and subsequently detach itself further from its audience. It’s a sight to behold on screen but is ultimately a disappointment.
“Moonage Daydream” Trailer