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A WANNA BE WHO BECAME...,
This review is from: Basquiat [VHS]  (VHS Tape)Artist Julian Schnabel in his directorial debut captures the essence of the avant-garde art world of the late nineteen seventies through the eighties. His screenplay focuses on Jean- Michel Basquiat, a street person who started his career as an artist known for his memorable graffiti. Basquiat later catapulted to fame as the first African American artist to break out into the lily white New York art world, becoming pals with the likes of Andy Warhol. His struggle for acceptance and his inner demons ultimately proved to be too much for him, however, and at twenty eight, the world of Basquiat came to a stunning conclusion from an overdose of heroin.
The role of Basquiat is deliciously and memorably played by Jeffrey Wright who portrays Basquiat as a fey sort of soul. His stunning portrayal of the artist is neatly counter-balanced by the earthy performance of a young Benicio Del Toro, who plays Basquiat's friend. David Bowie is perfectly cast as an other worldly Andy Warhol. Dennis Hopper and Courtney Love also give compelling performances, as does Gary Oldham.
This is a quirky, surprisingly good film in the best indie tradition. It is quintessential New York in feel. Native New Yorkers will know what I mean. Others will simply have to take my word for it. Like the city, the film has something for everyone.