Writer-director Todd Haynes created an original and visually stunning faux-documentary charting the rise and fall of a fictional glam-rock star – using David Bowie as a role model.
Starting out with a reference to the poet Oscar Wilde, Velvet Goldmine is set mostly in Britain at the height of the 1970s Glam Rock era, where Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) takes the charts by storm.
Slade is involved in a unique love triangle; married to an American woman named Mandy (Toni Collette) but having an affair with a rising rock star named Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor), who is so original onstage that he upstages Slade.
Unable to cope with the fame and fortune, he fakes his own death onstage. When his fans find out it was a hoax he is finished, his drug use increases, his record sales plummet, and so he disappears from view.
Years later on the 10th anniversary of Slade’s faked death, a journalist named Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) is asked to investigate the Brian Slade phenomenon.
The film then examines Brian’s life in a series of flashbacks and shock revelations.