When the V&A hosted the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition in 2013, the curators couldn’t have known the life-spanning retrospective would also serve as Bowie’s epitaph. This documentary – originally screened partially live in cinemas to mark the close of the show – now returns to screens in tribute to Britain’s greatest pop star. It’s a fascinating if stylistically unadventurous overview of his life.
The structure is basic: V&A curators Victoria Broackes and Geoffrey Marsh take us on a tour around the exhibition, showing off everything from baby pics to the actual crystal ball Bowie fiddled with in the movie ‘Labyrinth’ (sadly, his famous codpiece doesn’t seem to be on display). All of this is interspersed with snippets of (pretty badly chosen) performance footage, fan vox pops and cursory talking-head interviews with notable Bowie admirers and collaborators including Jarvis Cocker and Jeremy Deller.
There are fascinating nuggets, but nothing you couldn’t pick up from a decent biography. If you need a fix of big-screen Bowie, wait for the reissue later this year of 1976’s ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’.