White Star (1983) - Roland Klick
Kenneth Barlow has spent most of his adult life working in the music industry. After hitting his peak as the road manager for the Rolling Stones, Barlow has set his eyes on Moody Moodinsky, a good-looking, blue-eyed, blond-haired keyboard player, who Barlow pitches as 'White Star', the next big thing. Barlow is a manic promotor and marketer, telling anyone who will listen that 'White Star' is the future of music. Rolank Klick's White Star is an off-kilter and strange commentary on the music industry that uses Dennis Hopper's explosive performance as Kenneth Barlow to capture the power of marketing manipulation. Though far from polished and not nuanced in the slighest, Roland Klick's film is strangely compelling thanks to Hopper, who may actually give the most memorable performance of his career. Barlow is a man who is desperate to get back to the top of the industry, pulling out every promotional ploy and breaking ethical boundaries to get there. When we are introduced to Barlow he is practically staging a riot before a White Star performance to stir up conversation and publicity, and later on, Barlow absurdly stages an assasination attempt on Moody, in an effort to launch his star into the strastosphere. Words don't do Hopper's unhinged performance justice, as Hopper presents a vey unstable force in Barlow, desperate for success and seemingly willing to do anything to make White Star a huge success. Throughout the entire film Moody never gives a single performance as 'White Star' in front of a live audience, with Hopper's Barlow being the man slowly making things work, through desperate and extreme means. The dynamic between Barlow and Moody is endlessly off-kilter, with Moody trusting Barlow more so than not, which slowly leads him to a breaking point himself. Roland Klick's White Star is a film that is still relevant today, maybe more so, capturing the mechanical manufacturing of artistic talent that can take place when fame and money are involved, with Kilck doing so in a very "punk" way.
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