Colson Baker, known in the music industry as Machine Gun Kelly, pulls off what should be an Oscar-worthy performance in this amazing look at the industry and the price of fame from writer/director Tim Sutton.
Cole Taurus is at the top of his game. A successful singer and songwriter, Cole has garnered the attention of many fans from all over. However, while at the height of his career, he has also succumbed to the major temptations and vices that come with fame. Cole has been on drugs which has led to his relationships being in jeopardy, especially with his young daughter, his assistant Ilana, and his manager Ray. However, he has one thing in mind and that is, he has a song in mind, but is unsure how to go about it.
As he goes on a journey to complete the song, which features an up-and-coming female singer taking center stage, he finds himself under constant pressure not just with the song but many other things. During what he learns is a livestream interview, he and Ilana go at it like a married couple. Cole even works with other artists on their tracks. However, once he starts to go forward, his vices take him two steps back. Will Cole be able to complete his song, or will he succumb to the price of fame?
A meshing of fact and fiction about the intricacies of the music industry, writer and director Tim Sutton had one thing in mind. After gaining steam for his Western film The Last Son, Sutton may have found his star in Colson Baker, known in the industry as Machine Gun Kelly. While MGK is known in the industry for both his music and his personal life, Sutton makes his film give a somewhat documentary feel to the story of a musician who is high on his horse but struggles internally.
Colson Baker gives an Oscar-worthy performance as the titular Cole Taurus. We see him on stage and gaining all this attention which he seems to enjoy at first. However, we immediately see the dark side of fame in Cole’s eyes as we see him drunk and high wading in a pool where he doesn’t want his daughter to see him in his condition. The pressures of fame clearly get to him and in the aforementioned meeting blowup between Cole and Ilana, excellently played by Maddie Hasson, the chemistry is that of a bickering married couple and yet, they are not romantically involved. In fact, this is a rarity to see a protagonist without a love interest.
We get to see Cole sometimes find his good side. This comes when he has come up with a possible opening beat to a song for a rap artist and together, he and the rapper come together and make up lyrics that mesh well. That is until we see a pizza delivery guy seeking an opportunity to both take a photo and attempt to rap with Cole, which draws his ire which in turns leads to a dissention between Cole and the rapper. What’s more interesting is that we understand how bad the vices have hit as he can’t remember going off on people and acting as if nothing happened. It’s really sad and it gets to a point where he finds himself binging alongside punk rock chick Bub, played in an extended cameo by Ruby Rose.
It must be mentioned that the final shot of the film is one of the most excellently filmed scenes ever as it is visually beautiful and visceral.
Taurus may seem like a fictional look at the music industry but shows fame does have its price. Colson Baker gives an Oscar-worthy performance as a modern-day Mozart as we see him on both sides of the spectrum. This is a drama definitely worth watching.
WFG RATING: A+
RLJE Films and Highland Film Group presents a Rivulet Media production. Director: Tim Sutton. Producers: Rob Paris, Jib Polhemus, and Mike Witherill. Writer: Tim Sutton. Cinematography: John Brawley. Editing: Holle Singer.
Cast: Colson Baker, Maddie Hasson, Scoot McNairy, Ruby Rose, Megan Fox, Luis Da Silva Jr., Sara Silva, Naomi Wild, Lil Tjay, T.K. Weaver, Angela Landis, David Abed.
The film will be released in selected theaters, On Demand, and Digital on November 18.