A new trailer for IFC’s David Bowie biopic Stardust recently dropped. Directed by Gabriel Range, starring Johnny Flynn as Bowie, Jena Malone, and Marc Maron, the film revolves around Bowie coming to America in 1971, and the creation of one of his most famous characters: Ziggy Stardust.
A drumbeat begins the trailer as there is focus on Bowie’s eccentric style and name. It follows Bowie’s struggles at the beginning of his career. An executive saying, “12 singles everyone a total failure, except Space Oddity.” In the trailer’s most shocking reveal he meets Rob Oberman, played by a strikingly beardless Marc Maron. The trailer then slowly builds to the creation of Ziggy Stardust and shows off musician and actor Johnny Flynn as the iconic alien.
The executive at the beginning hits the nail on the head about Bowie. He says, “the record company finds the album too weird.” Bowie imbued a unique feeling that touched many and made his music so special and, yes, weird. This trailer is not nearly weird enough.
Bowie is representative of an awakening in popular culture in the 1970’s and onward. He was one of the first openly sexual rockstars with not only a focus on his inward feelings, but also his outward appearance. This comes with a slew of other personas(The Thin White Duke, Halloween Jack, etc.), music notes, and, most importantly, a style as unique as his face.
The trailer hits these points maybe once or twice. A few images of Bowie looking in a mirror or him in the classic Major Tom astronaut suit scrape the surface of the rockstar. However, the overall feeling of the trailer is not one of David Bowie, but a normal rockstar. A rags to riches story. From farmer to galaxy saver. A movie about climbing the industry ladder. Bowie was larger than any movie could contain him, and while the trailer is fine, there is no unique identity to it that a biopic about the iconic figure desperately needs.
Stardust might not be able to use Bowie’s iconic music either, as stated by his son director Duncan Jones on Twitter just last year, “Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic… I would know.”
Overall, while the trailer is not distractingly horrible, though it leaves a lot to be desired. The fan reception as of now has been mixed. The IFC video currently has a like to dislike ratio of around 50%.
Stardust is set for a VOD release on November 25, 2020.