When it was first announced that Gary Oldman and Marion Cotillard would be appearing in David Bowie’s next promo video – for “The Next Day,” the third single since his sudden and overwhelmingly welcome comeback earlier this year – hosannas were raised. A Dark Knight Rises reunion, plus the single most charismatic rock star Britain has ever produced, at his newly-reborn, all-glowing best, in the same place at the same time? The results can only be amazing, can’t they?
Well, you’d like to think so. Sadly, the truth is less thrilling (and a bit gross for family viewing):
It’s not the Catholicism-baiting that’s troublesome – all those callous and sleazy priests enacting a depressingly trite Vicars and Tarts tea party with nearly-nude dancing girls, some of who have eyelashes you could plait – or the subsequent stigmata (although there is a Kill Bill-full of blood). It’s those little smirks on Sir Dame David’s face, and the throwing around of disturbing imagery to no real purpose. It’s the fact that this sort of thing is really old hat, no matter how timeless the message – something something organised religion something corruption, as far as I can make out – may be.
Even his fourth-wall breaking turn as a Christ-like figure at the end is accompanied by a stifled-grin that says “aren’t we naughty!”
Well, after years of deliberate and tiresome use of the same old icons to attack the same old icons from goth/industrial/black metal bands all over the world, the only answer to that question is “No. Not even a little bit.”