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Todd Haynes, ever unpredictable, follows up his experimental trilogy Poison and his restrained Safe with this flamboyant study in glam rock through the kaleidoscopic lens of Citizen Kane. Christian Bale plays Arthur Stuart, a reporter sent to investigate the legend of rock legend and bisexual pop icon Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as a not-so-thinly veiled David Bowie), who disappeared a decade ago after staging his own mock assassination. But Arthur is flooded with memories of his own adolescence as he interviews Slade's friends and business associates, peeling back the layer of makeup and spangles that was the model of rebellion for a generation of middle-class British kids and discovering a hollow center. Ewan McGregor almost steals the film as the punk pioneer Curt Wild (equal parts Iggy Pop and Kurt Cobain), the genuine article to Slade's calculated, coifed image of glitter stardom. Haynes's film lacks nothing in capturing the flamboyance and spectacle of the era with flashy filmmaking and kitschy costumes, and if the plot seems lost in the preening and visual fireworks, perhaps that's the point: behind the fašades and manufactured fronts is nothing but glitter, energy, and a beat.

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