‘Nico, 1988’ Review: A Surprisingly Authentic Biopic

In the most exciting scene of “Nico, 1988,” the former singer for the Velvet Underground walks onto the stage of a gloomy outlaw performance space in Communist Prague. She’s in a foul mood (she hates Communists); we’ve already seen her throw a restaurant tantrum in which she shouted for someone — anyone — to get her some heroin. Wearing leather pants and a studded bracelet, Trine Dyrholm, the 45-year-old Danish actress who plays Nico, looks like a long-black-haired, coldly fierce erotic-zombie version of Roseanne Barr. As she stares down the crowd, launching into a shockingly charged rendition of “My Heart Is Empty,” her hate erupts like a rock ‘n’ roll volcano. Did the real Nico ever give a performance this full of animal energy? Even if she didn’t, “Nico, 1988” is authentic enough, in its moods and music, to earn the sequence. For a moment, the film becomes a vintage pop biopic, baptized in the cleansing fire of release.

The rest of the time, it sticks close to the desperate, scattered psychodrama of Nico’s last two years — the period captured, with frightening close-up voyeurism, in the 1995 documentary “Nico Icon.” In that movie, we seemed to be watching Nico destroy herself, but “Nico, 1988” takes a more casual and, at times, even jaunty attitude toward its heroine’s proudly functional middle-aged depravity. Nico was born Christa Päffgen, and in the film just about everyone calls her Christa, making you realize that Nico is a character she’s still playing but no longer believes in. “Nico, 1988,” which is in English, understands the mystique of her anti-mystique, and deserves to attract a small but fascinated audience on the specialty circuit.

Christa shoots heroin into her bruised ankle as if she were having a snack. She gives interviews in which she repeats, like a jaded mantra, how bored she is of being asked about her days as the Teutonic android chanteuse of the Velvet Underground — a…

Read the full article at the Original Source..

Back to Top