Enjoyable movie, especially if you are into, or familiar with, the art scene of New York in the 80's... Strongly disagree with the other comment about the poor acting. These artists were quirky and unique in their own way, and anyone who has seen interviews or documentary footage of the actual people, will realize how accurate the actors' portrayals of them are. The actual story is sad, but the film is well done!
Easily and by a wide margin the best of Julian Schnabel's work as a movie director. Low-key yet haunting portrait of an outsider who made it big in the New York art world, yet was so lacking in inner resources that his fame achieved the opposite of keeping him afloat. There's a brief, almost subliminal glimpse of a man and his daughter dancing around, goofing off, as "The Nearness of You" spins on the soundtrack. A friend of mine and I asked each other: Why is this bit in the movie? And as soon as we asked the question aloud, we knew the answer: it serves as visual shorthand for all the things Basquiat didn't have and never in his short life would have. The movie is poignant while sidestepping sentimentality. Well acted by entire cast (with the possible exception of Parker Posey, typically overblown, as the gallery owner Mary Boone, but she isn't around much).
Sadly, the Northbrook Public Library purchased the wrong Basquiat film. The right one is "Basquiat: The Radiant Child" (2010). This one is just a long, boring display of debauchery and ennui, made even more painful with the bonuses of terrible acting, lousy dialog and inattention to detail. It looks like a SAIC senior project.
At the end of this movie, I felt like I had thoroughly and wastefully squandered almost two hours of my life. Gone forever. You were warned.
This film is shot by the artist's friend over the course of a few years and chronicles his rise to fame. It accurately portrays the excess of the 80s and the social scene then. I haven't seen any other documentaries or shows on Basquiat yet, so I found this bio informative.
If you want to enjoy the world of ultra-liberal, drug-using, navel-gazing people, this is the movie for you. Otherwise, skip it.
Excellent bio-pic of a fascinating subject: New York graffiti / Neo-Expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (b. 1960), who died prematurely of his own drug excesses. Especially don't miss it if you're interested in modern art. Sadly, the film isn't yet available in OPL's collection.
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