Watch Basquiat

"In 1981, A Nineteen-Year-Old Unknown Graffiti Writer Took The New York Art World By Storm. The Rest Is Art History."

Basquiat is the true story of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright), a young biracial artist who took the art world by storm and never looked back. Basquiat starts out homeless, living as a street artist in the turbulent ‘80s, tagging walls with close friend Benny Dalmau (Benicio Del Toro). He develops a reputation as a graffiti wordsmith throughout the New York boroughs, and catches the eye of Gina Cardinale (Claire Forlani). His unique style and brash methodology lead him to manipulate and enhance the art he sees around him, eventually getting recognized by local art manager Rene Ricard (Michael Wincott). Ricard gets Basquiat setup with a studio and the materials necessary for a young artist, including drugs. Basquiat hits the ground running, creating masterpiece after masterpiece, often working on up to 10 pieces at a time. It isn’t long before the art world begins taking notice, as Basquiat's genius spreads like a wildfire.

One of those to take notice is Andy Warhol (David Bowie), who initially purchases a few drawings from Basquiat, and is so impressed with their realness he invites Basquiat into his circle. The two become good friends, often creating work together. The pair also share a kinship, unlike many in the world which they inhabit. Both are rich and famous outsiders with short attention spans, and both seek to create the change they wish to see. But like all relationships, theirs runs its course.

Basquiat, like many men, has a ravenous appetite for women, but his love for them is forever haunted by a mentally ill mother. A recurring theme throughout is the teetering between genius and insanity. Basquiat, much like his mother and Warhol, has an apathy to the world which can only be shaken by his insatiable need to create.

In the end, Basquiat’s genius hit like a hurricane

R
| 1996 | 1 hr 48 min | 6.9/10
Cast
Studio
Director
Julian Schnabel
Language
English, Spanish
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