Big-Screen Bowie

In a new Slate article titled “Cracked Actor,” critic Jessica Winter takes an enjoyable, affectionate look back at the film career of that slender shape-shifter David Bowie, on the occasion of the Criterion release of Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. In the short essay, dotted with entertaining clips, Winter argues that, whether playing an exploited extraterrestrial in The Man Who Fell to Earth , a “nihilist poet-slut” in Bertolt Brecht’s Baal for the BBC, or an oddball object of affection in a POW camp in Mr. Lawrence, Bowie is always distinctly Bowie—and that’s okay: “Because Bowie’s insuperable Bowie-ness glitters too brightly for him to vanish into any one part, a close look at his film and theater roles is a case study in the merits of stunt casting.”

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