Movie Review: Moonage Daydream (Morgen, 2022)

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Movie: Moonage Daydream 

Production Companies: Live Nation Entertainment, BMG, Public Road Prods.

Director: Brett Morgen

Producers: Brett Morgen, Andrew Murray 

Scriptwriter: Brett Morgen

Main Cast: David Bowie

Release Date: May 22nd 2022 (Cannes)

Running Time: 134 mins

Certificate: No Certificate Yet


Now I know what you’re thinking and yes this is a review of a David Bowie documentary: Moonage Daydream. That in itself is a change from my usual fiction film reviews. However, having seen it at a film festival, I just had to review it. So without further ado here is my review of the film.


Moonage Daydream isn’t just the name of the film but obviously the title of one of Bowie’s most popular songs. The film is an odyssey following Bowie through his creative and musical journey via the use of hundreds of thousands of hours of archive footage from the Bowie estate. Moonage Daydream uses this footage to dive into the mind and persona of Bowie throughout his career and personal life. Not only is the film good to watch as a Bowie fan but at points it is visually stunning, with a lot of it showing how art can mirror life. This means across the 2 hour runtime the audience gets to feel what life was like for David Bowie. So without further ado let’s jump into the analysis of Moonage Daydream.


Visuals in Moonage Daydream

To begin my analysis of Moonage Daydream, I’m going to discuss the film’s visuals. And also how they bring Bowie’s persona to life. Firstly, the film is visually brilliant. Whether it’s the repeated shots of the moon flying by (I wonder what that could be a reference to…) or the bright vibrant colours seen during archival performances of Bowie. Any fan of Bowie would have been able to tell you how vibrant his style and performances were. All of this only adds to the mystique created by him throughout the film. In addition to the vibrancy of the visuals, Moonage Daydream also uses the cinematic shots of the moon as another form of visual brilliance.

Given the heavy use of colour in the archived interview segments, the sudden change to a much colder colour palette works as a great contrast. This also allows the audience to know when a transition to another part of the film, and hence Bowie’s life is about to happen. This use of the shots of the moon as both stunning visuals for the audience to look at and simultaneously as a way of transitioning the film. Good choice on the part of the director there.

Moonage Daydream’s Runtime

For the next part of my Moonage Daydream analysis, I’m going to discuss the elephant in the room: the film’s runtime. Now I like David Bowie and his music but the film really felt like it was stretching towards the end. And when some people walk out of your film disliking it more because of how many false endings there were, that is never a good sign. Now, as mentioned above Brett Morgen made frequent use of the shot of the moon passing by. How many times did he use this shot?

If my memory serves me correctly, at least 4-5 times. Now I understand the shot was probably supposed to act as a transition to another part of the film but after the second use it really feels a bit tedious. Also the fact the film feels like it had more endings than Return of the King does not help its 2 and half hour runtime. 

Interviews in Moonage Daydream

To conclude my analysis of Moonage Daydream, I’m going to discuss how the film integrates archived interviews. Now obviously with a large amount of archive footage to use, it wasn’t just what footage to use but also how to utilise it. So how does Morgen utilise this footage? Throughout Moonage Daydream, Morgen uses the interviews in two main ways. So what are these methods? Well the first is simply inserting the archived interviews into the film. This creates a very traditional documentary feel.

However the second method of using the archive interviews is a lot more interesting. So what is the second method? Well, using just the audio as a form of voiceover. This allows for a far more streamlined feel to the film at points. That feel is created by the voiceover allowing Morgen to focus on the portrayal and creation of Bowie across the film. Also, these methods allow for a nice contrast between the methods of using interviews and voiceover in documentaries.


To conclude, Moonage Daydream is visually stunning, well made and slightly too long back at the life and performances of David Bowie. Definitely worth watching if and when it hits UK cinemas.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Good 

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: Mild Sexual References

Recommendation: Yes