Golden Eye

Article excerpt

In Velvet Goldmine Todd Haynes takes an affectionate look at the glam-rock era--when all that glittered was gay

Velvet Goldmine * Written and directed by Todd Haynes * Starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale, Toni Collette, and Eddie Izzard * Miramax

When Todd Haynes's 1991 film Poison hit theaters, it made us feel positively inadequate. It was as if there weren't enough eyes in our heads to see everything he saw. Haynes was like some celluloid Antichrist damning the Aristotelian unities to hell, ricocheting through time and space between the laboratory of an obsessed scientist, the bedroom of an enfant terrible, and the erotically charged bunkers of a prison. All he lacked, it seemed, was money.

Two pictures later, Haynes has the bucks, and ooh, wow, what he does with them. The big screen can barely contain the razzle-dazzle rush of movement, color, and music that spills over in Velvet Goldmine, his roiling valentine to the glam-rock era. And Haynes, with his godlike omniscience, can hardly contain himself. He's so hepped up by his subject matter that he can't sit still. As he darts about in time, back and forth, up and down, over and across, one spends a good part of the picture unhinged.

Haynes has cooked up no less than three male protagonists whose lives collide in both the professional and romantic arenas. At the hub is Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), a pan-sexual British rock icon of the early '70s who abandons his pedestal at the full flush of his fame. Flanking him are his American role model Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor), a rough rider of the glam-rock scene who eventually becomes Slade's muse, and Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale), an expatriate British journalist on a mission to investigate Slade's whereabouts. …