-A biopic of Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Warhol-approved graffiti artist and painter, considered the first 'important black artist', who died at 27 (ahem). Starring Jeffrey Wright as the eponymous, Gary Oldman as Albert Milo, a thinly veiled Julian Schnabel, David Bowie as Andy Warhol, and Dannis Hopper as Bruno Bischofberger, with Parker Posey as Mary Boone, Courtney Love, Benicio del Toro, Michael Wincott, Claire Forlani, Tatum O'Neal, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Walken, and a bunch of other people.
-Okay, the thing is, this is a very visually appealing movie. But it's paper-thin. You never get under Basquat's skin. He's just there. Things just happen, with no apparent motivation. The film revels in its supporting cast, Gary Oldman as a maybe-gay, maybe-not artist friend of Basquat's, Dennis Hopper, David Bowie, it can't get over it. No, in fact, Julian Schnable, director, is enraptured with his own likeness, Gary Oldman, as Brooks Adams put it, "[it] should be more appropriately called My Basquiat". You'll find yourself caring about Jean-Michel by default, rather than any real characterization. Nothing is made clear about anyone, years pass without consequence. It took me an hour in to realize that the plot had actually started, that this wasn't still the setup.
-Nonetheless, the performances are appropriately top. David Bowie, for instance, gets Warhol down pat, the swagger and all that. Gary Oldman is entertaining, but hardly there. Jeffrey Wright, I should say, is amazing as the title character, charismatic and fascinating. He creates more tension and interest in his character than the screenplay did.
-Visuals, too, are lovely.
-The end was very abrupt, but I liked it.
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