A rough and unsparing film.
Editor's Note: With February's "Unloved," Scout Tafoya looks at the film career of the late David Bowie, noting his unique presence in the cinematic world, and settling on 1986's "Absolute Beginners" as the one that deserves another look. As Tafoya says, Julien Temple's film is "a bawdy, colorful feast for the eyes and ears." Bowie's career defied expectation and so does Temple's film, displaying a love for what only movies can do. The opening tracking shot was name-checked in the opening tracking shot of Robert Altman's "The Player," which is itself a discussion of great tracking shots in movies—a meta tribute worthy of Bowie himself—but the entire film is worth seeing for its bright and lowdown spirit and its relentless inventiveness. For decades now it has been poised on the edge of mass rediscovery without ever quite crossing over. Let's hope the ninth or tenth time is the charm.—Matt Zoller Seitz