The choice of casting Bowie as Newton is inspired - the androgynous star perfectly suiting the role of the space visitor. Bowie - in his first silver-screen appearance - excels, creating a perfectly suited sense of tragedy and melancholic ambiguity.
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It’s ambitious, artful and unique. As for Bowie… what a star, man.
It may be time to stop calling Nicolas Roeg's sexed-up sci-fi film that vaguely demeaning term - a cult classic - and start addressing it as what it is: the most intellectually provocative genre film of the 1970s.
There's an inherent contradiction at the film's core: this sexually explicit motion picture, seemingly made by and for altered consciousnesses, is all about how an innocent newcomer falls prey to gin, sex, and television.
Undeniably long, Panavision-wide, but of questionable depth.
The story unfolds in a daring sequence of narrative leaps.
Bowie, slender, elegant, remote, evokes this alien so successfully that one could say, without irony, this was a role he was born to play.
It's not just the grainy stock and bad sound - technically, we've come a long way. It's the cheesy sex, the awkward edits, the hammy symbolism, the mix of art-house aesthetics and exploitation cliché. Strange creature, this is.
Bowie’s performance is riveting, drawing on his history of mime to play a man who is almost, but not quite, one of us.