Type keyword(s) to search

Quick Hits

Moonage Daydream Brings the Spectacle of David Bowie's Life to HBO

Brett Morgen's otherworldly documentary comes to the small screen on April 29.
  • David Bowie in Moonage Daydream (Photo: HBO)
    David Bowie in Moonage Daydream (Photo: HBO)

    The late David Bowie was a natural storyteller. There are countless TV and radio interviews of the musician sharing his creative insights and details of his upbringing, always with razor-sharp wit. The very nature of his work has a decades-long narrative arc, each chapter marked with its own distinct visuals, sounds, and even character names. In the documentary Moonage Daydream, premiering April 29 on HBO and HBO Max, director Brett Morgen (Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Jane) pieces together those archival moments, some of which have never before been seen, allowing Bowie’s own work and words to speak for themselves.

    Morgen spent four years going through Bowie’s archives pulling material for the documentary, then spent another year and a half designing the film’s dream-like visuals and soundscape — experimental animation sequences interspersed throughout the archival footage add to the film’s ethereal feel. It was conceived as a work meant to fill the biggest screen possible (the film had a limited theatrical release in fall 2022).

    “I wanted to create a spectacle,” Morgen said in an interview with RogerEbert.com. “This whole thing started because ... I wanted to take over the IMAX system to play some killer David Bowie music and create [a] trippy sublime experience.”

    The result of Morgen’s approach presents Bowie’s life as an otherworldly collage. Bowie’s musings on existence set the stage for a vibrant depiction of how he lived as many lives as he could in his time on Earth. The film is never bogged down by outside commentary or talking-head interviews, instead taking shape as a free-flowing stream of live concert footage, backstage clips, and interviews with Bowie, all tinted with a kaleidoscope of colors. Diving straight into the deep end of the artist’s mind and work is a bit disorienting at first, but it also makes it impossible to look away.

    Moonage Daydream premieres April 29 at 8:00 PM ET on HBO and HBO Max.

    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: Moonage Daydream, HBO, Brett Morgen, David Bowie