×

Film Review: ‘Duran Duran Unstaged’

The idea of David Lynch directing a concert movie of Duran Duran remains far more exciting than the result.

With:
Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor, Dom Brown, Mark Ronson, Kelis, Gerard Way, Beth Ditto, Whitney Montgomery, Travis Dukelow, David Lynch.

The idea of David Lynch directing a concert movie of Duran Duran remains far more exciting than the result, live-streamed two years ago on YouTube and currently on the market for distribution as a feature. Though Lynch appears at the start of the pic to announce his “experiment,” the surrealist master’s one trick here is to superimpose depressingly literal, color representations of lyrics over standard-issue black-and-white footage of the new wavers onstage. DD fans will complain that the band can’t be ogled over Lynch’s digital doodlings, while Lynch completists will grouse that there’s too much Duran Duran onstage in “Duran Duran Unstaged.”

Lynch’s first feature-length work since “Inland Empire” in 2006, “Duran Duran” opens pre-concert with a high-pitched, overenunciating Lynch exclaiming, “I’m very happy to be working for Duran Duran!” Be that as it may, fun remains in short supply for the viewer, whose patience is tested precisely by the auteur’s illustrative images — a gape-mouthed lupine beast for “Hungry Like the Wolf,” lights in a freeway tunnel for “Being Followed,” a spinning globe for “Planet Earth,” etc. Even allowing for the pressures of on-the-fly direction as required by the project’s live webcast format, “Duran Duran” looks exceedingly lazy.

The film’s sound, on the other hand, is stellar, sharply showcasing the reunited band members in fine form on ’80s pop hits such as “Rio,” “A View to a Kill” and “Girls on Film,” as well as more recent songs. Smoldering frontman Simon Le Bon appears particularly inspired on DD’s Top 10 tunes of the early ’90s, “Ordinary World” and “Come Undone,” although the latter nearly comes undone itself as a result of Lynch’s superimposed images of hot-dog wieners frying and flipping on a charcoal grill.

Lynch’s longtime d.p., Peter Deming, doesn’t do enough to accommodate the director’s incessantly indulgent overlays, while Noriko Miyakawa’s editing remains held captive to the wildly overused double-image conceit. Ultimately, none of “Duran Duran Unstaged” seems a fraction as psychedelic as one would’ve hoped.

Onscreen title appears as just “Duran Duran,” and the film’s director as Lynch, although some Cannes market screening notices billed the helmer as one Steve Stone.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'Duran Duran Unstaged'

Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 20, 2013. Running time: 112 MIN.

Production: An Asymmetrical, Magus Entertainment, Momentum Worldwide, Digitas, VEVO production. (International sales: Arclight Films, Beverly Hills.) Produced by Sabrina S. Sutherland, Andrew Kelly, Michael Goldfine, Blake W. Morrison, Wendy Laister. Executive producer, Joe Killian.

Crew: Directed by David Lynch. Camera (color/B&W, HD), Peter Deming; editor, Noriko Miyakawa; sound, Dean Hurley; special effects supervisor, Gary D’Amico.

With: Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Roger Taylor, Dom Brown, Mark Ronson, Kelis, Gerard Way, Beth Ditto, Whitney Montgomery, Travis Dukelow, David Lynch.

More Film

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent and Elle

    China Box Office: Hollywood Sweeps Up With ‘Maleficent’ and ‘Gemini Man’

    The first Hollywood blockbusters to hit China in the wake of the country’s big National Day holiday have, as expected, swept away holdover patriotic titles that had previously ruled the box office, with “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” edging out fellow debut title “Gemini Man” to lead the pack with a $22.5 million opening weekend. While [...]

  • Maleficent Mistress of Evil

    Korea Box Office: 'Maleficent 2' Debuts on Top, Deposes 'Joker'

    Given a Thursday opening, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted on top of the South Korean box office. The Walt Disney release earned $4.56 million from 612,000 admissions over four days. The fantasy adventure film accounted for 37% of total weekend box office in the country. “Joker” slipped to second after remaining on top for two [...]

  • Inside an Inox Leisure multiplex in

    India's Inox Multiplex Chain Reveals Ambitious Growth Plans

    Indian multiplex chain Inox Leisure has revealed ambitious plans to more than double its existing screen capacity of 600. The company is planning to add 900 more screens across the country over the next decade. “That’s the realistic answer, but my desire is to do it over the next five years,” Siddharth Jain, director, Inox [...]

  • Joker

    Why 'Joker' Is About All of Us (Column)

    Take a look at the photo above. It’s the most poetic image to have emerged from Todd Phillips’ “Joker,” and the reason I say “poetic” isn’t just because the shot has that caught-in-action indelible vibe of a quintessential movie poster: graphic, hauntingly composed, a bit shocking (at least, the first time you see it). It’s [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Rules International Box Office With $117 Million

    Though Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” stumbled at the domestic box office, the Angelina Jolie-led sequel enjoyed a far stronger start overseas. The follow-up to 2014’s fantasy adventure inspired by the “Sleeping Beauty” villain took off with $117 million from 56 international markets. In North America, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted with a meager $36 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content