Film review: McQueen


Mcqueen - Credit: Archant

Michael Joyce thinks the rags to riches story will only appeal to superfans.

Faced with the prospect of a screening of a documentary about a great British fashion designer at a swanky Soho establishment, I thought I ought to make a bit of an effort.

So I rolled up in a 20th-century short sleeve shirt (not vintage, just unchucked), scuffed shoes and unfashionably distressed jeans.

Even I though would admit that accessorising with a library copy of the Danny Baker autobiography was perhaps a prole signifier too far.

I needn’t have bothered. Lee McQueen was a tubby East End boy who would often slouch out after his shows wearing the kind of scruffy attire that was a little bit too keen to announce he was still street.

He did though have an innate gift for tailoring, a fierce desire to learn and an unstoppable ambition that saw him putting on catwalk shows while he was still on the dole.

He was also possessed of any number of demons that would eventually nudge him to take his own life, aged 40.

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A few years back, a McQueen biopic was promised but we have been spared that and instead get this straightforward, chronological telling of his life. The film is built upon the masses of home videos of himself he left behind, supplemented with an array of famous faces chipping in about his talent, personality and addictions.

The screening was filled with ladies that lunch, (and who talk and gesticulate through movies) and they all seemed enthralled with the treatment he got.

It is certainly well presented with some classy title cards and is whisked through to the accompaniment of old Michael Nyman soundtracks.

The footage of his shows - more like performance art happenings than the usual catwalk bustle - demonstrate that he was someone with real vision, one so strong that it could communicate to those with no interest in fashion. So maybe it’s a wee bit disappointing that the film of his life is so conventional and unlikely to appeal to anybody not already interested in the story.


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