Image

3:42 PM / Thursday February 2, 2023

8 Aug 2010

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child Bio-pic recounts brash artist’s meteoric rise and untimely demise

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
August 8, 2010 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

Review by Kam Williams

 

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) was born in Brooklyn to a Puerto Rican mother and a father of Haitian extraction. Blessed with a rebellious nature, he ran away from home a lot during adolescence, finally leaving for good at 17. Moving to Manhattan, he dropped out of school to fritter away his days spray-painting his alias, “Samo,” all over the place, because as he put it, “The whole object of doing graffiti is fame.”

 

Fortunately, some well-connected folks in the high-priced art world recognized that Jean-Michel actually had some talent and convinced the kid to go legit. He agreed to give it a try, and watched with amazement as his paintings rapidly escalated in price from $200 to $30,000 a piece. It wasn’t long before he found himself rubbing elbows with celebrated icons like Andy Warhol and Julian Schnabel.

 

Some people can handle such overnight success, but Jean-Michel wasn’t one of them. Because he was making way more money than any of his friends and hangers-on, he got a swelled head and decided to serve as the fulcrum of a non-stop, substance-abusing party which eventually culminated with a heroin overdose in his studio at the age of 27.

 

All of the above, plus his arresting array of hairstyles ranging from sumo wrestler to Mohawk to weed-wacker, are amply illustrated in Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child, a cautionary documentary about the downside of having it all. Basquiat was already the subject of a dramatization of his life directed by pal Schnabel and starring Jeffrey Wright.

 

What make this flick a real treat is seeing file footage of the bombastic iconoclast in all his glory before he bottomed out on smack. Too bad he didn’t have that one person in his entourage he could trust to pull his coattails about the dangers of intravenous drug use. But hey, if he were still alive, there might not be any Basquiat mystique for the upscale auction houses to capitalize on.

 

In certain circles, it’s still better to flameout than to fade away.

 

Excellent (4 stars)

Unrated

Running time: 90 Minutes

Distributor: Arthouse Films

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Local

Office of Economic Opportunity debuts virtual educational series to advance pathways toward generational wealth

January 30, 2023

Tweet Share Pin Email  PHILADELPHIA – The Department of Commerce, Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) is advancing...

Suburban News

Black History Month events in Montgomery County 

January 30, 2023

Tweet Share Pin Email Here is a listing of this year’s upcoming events. All will be held...

Stateside

Pennsylvanians encouraged to use myPATH to file 2022 PA tax returns

January 30, 2023

Tweet Share Pin Email With the opening of tax filing season, the Department of Revenue is encouraging...

Color Of Money

Preparing for tax season: Three tips to keep your documents organized

January 27, 2023

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Taxes can be a daunting task. Some people are so anxious that...

Health

What is DME and why it matters if you have diabetes

January 27, 2023

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or are a...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? 7 Bean Stew

January 27, 2023

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’?: 7 Bean Stew What’s Cookin’?...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff