Stardust. Movie Review.

As a huge fan of Duncan Jones first two directorial features, this critic remembers seeing him state on Twitter that he had to take a meeting regarding a potential biopic of his father David Bowie. Thus began a chain of events that has led to Stardust. To quote a Jones tweet from January 2019 “if you want to see a biopic without his music or the families blessing that’s up to the audience.” A lot of the social media outrage that was caused by the films trailer debut could do well to remember this quote. Jones isn’t going on a huge tirade against the projects very existent. he’s merely stating a fact and leaving it up to the viewer as to whether they want to support said piece of media with this knowledge. The film then played at a few virtual festivals. Reviews were expectedly abysmal. This viewer always wondered how much of the initial reaction was based on the moral outrage of ita very existent as opposed to the final products actual content. For this reason, this writer decided to give the movie a fair chance when it hit VOD.
Stardust is a very strange viewing experience. On one level ( as is the case with anything that promotes a certain amount of outrage culture) the moral questionability of pure existence does not automatically make it abysmal. In this case, the fact the feature exists in the form it does showcases the fat the those behind it were never interested in making anything of quality with this endeavour. They wanted to attach a well-known name to a cheap poorly made musician drama to get it some free publicity. Never has any supposed biopic been so indebted to its subject despite having no rights to use any of his work. Yet proceedings also give off the feeling that it could be about any musical figure off the street simply by changing their name. Watching Johnny Flynn and Marc Maron (the latter of whom is far too good for this embarrassment) walk around the same under late period hallway, enter the same smoke-filled bar and drive on a green screen background gets unbelievably tedious very fast. Rinse and repeat for 108 minutes. That said the “creative team” know if they can get this cinematic sleeping tablet to the finish line it will have an inbuilt audience. Both from Bowie fans and those who are aware of the film’s existence thanks to the outrage. if it wasn’t for the negative publicity this disaster would be dumped on streaming with no fanfare whatsoever before getting swallowed into the vacuums of a streaming algorithm
This a prime example of the back storey behind a piece of work being more interesting than the final product The released cash grab is unrelentingly boring. Even if a potential viewer is primed to hate to watch the film on account of moral obligations it’s so effective as a cinematic nap inducer any other qualities the film might possess or Julie overrated.,. It’s the kind of tonally sleepy, poorly made shovelware that is crying out for someone on staff to lighten up proceedings with some variety of distinctive vision. Needless to say, this never happens. To say this failure is only for the morbidly curious viewer is a massive understatement.
Despite what certain outraged social media channels may tell, media projects can’t entirely be declared good or bad when looking solely at the moral question of why they exist Ultimately it’s up to the audience and critics whether they want to give that material that has generated controversy a chance. When looking at Stardust specifically it doesn’t fail due to its unauthorised nature. The David Bowie estate is perfectly within there rights to proverbially slam the door in the face of its existence. It fails because it’s a cheap, nasty and mercenary cash grab made by filmmakers perfectly aware that if they didn’t attach that famous name to their embarrassing failure of a music biopic it would get no traction whatsoever. the final product pushes cinematic boredom to its very limit.
3/10

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