Image via RLJ Entertainment
Image via RLJ Entertainment

Review: ‘Taurus’ is a stripped-back indie effort that pulses with creative intensity

'Taurus' is an intense piece of filmmaking underpinned by a magnetic central performance from Colson Baker.

Capturing the self-destructive spiral of fictional musicians on film is difficult without running into cliché. And yet, Taurus manages to pull this it without missing a beat.  

Recommended Videos

Featuring Colson Baker, aka Machine Gun Kelly, as up-and-coming rock star rapper Cole, Taurus is a full-frontal assault from the opening frame. As well as being an executive producer on the project alongside writer and director Tim Sutton, Kelly also contributed a vast majority of the music – a fact which not only adds an additional layer of authenticity to this moral fable, but ensures that any creative segues onscreen feel grounded in reality. 

Feeling like a fly on the wall documentary rather than possessing any sense of solid structure, Taurus is 70 percent mood piece propped up by some stripped back vignettes, scenes which are aided by a seemingly haphazard construction, strangely complimenting the more polished elements necessary to offer some narrative direction. From the cliched drug taking through to an overly elaborate temper tantrum, this film is not only engaging, but tinged with pathos.  

Much of that comes down to Baker, who channels the spirit of a young Nic Cage around his Wild at Heart phase, conveying a simmering inner turmoil amid unpredictable bursts of creativity. With a fleeting appearance from Megan Fox as his ex-partner Mae, who acts up before storming out, Taurus feels vibrant and essential in a way only cinema can.  

In this world of temporary connections defined by social media, Cole is destined to burn bright before burning out. His level of creative freedom spilling over into a life which is completely controlled by Ilana, his personal assistant. Maddie Hasson is genuinely excellent playing opposite this petulant man-child, as he overindulges in substances and believes his own press.  

As much as audiences will know the end game Cole is heading towards, the musician/actor remains captivating throughout. During his scenes in the recording studio, there is a genuine sense of anticipation which gets captured on camera. Raw, untapped energy on that level, which is both erratic yet strangely alluring, allows Taurus to build emotional mountains from minor melodies to create something memorable.  

Image via RLJ Entertainment
Image via RLJ Entertainment

Aside from Baker and Hasson, who make up the central relationship in this allegorical fable, other actors in the ensemble barely get a look in. Scoot McNairy (Monsters) makes a fleeting appearance as one member of Cole’s management team, while Ruby Rose (Batgirl) gets to look cool and babysit him in a UV inspired nightclub set piece. Almost everyone else gets to contribute moody looks or the occasional line of dialogue, before making a casual exit. 

Taurus is a sensory cinematic experience which will elicit a completely subjective response, rather than prompting a collective opinion like almost every other movie. That Baker commits so fully to the premise of rock star excess has led some people to assume there is minimal acting involved, that life imitating art somehow makes the portrayal of a suicidal rock star easier for an actor, when they might have lived through something similar.  

Although there could be an argument made which backs up that theory, in this case Baker deserves a defense. Going on instinct rather than leaning into technique has been the fallback for Nic Cage his whole career. With an unchecked charisma chip and wild-eyed enthusiasm, Cage has tackled starring roles, won Oscars and paid off an excessive tax bill through sheer work ethic and will.  

He has never been less than authentic in every role, even when those characters were not always crafted with care. However, it has never been about the raw materials which were handed to him, but rather how he managed to mold them into something memorable. It’s a method which Baker appears to mirror in Taurus, inhabiting this character and embracing him with both hands.  

Not only making this potently powerful performer insanely magnetic onscreen, but lending a tinge of pathos to his legacy in the aftermath of those acting choices. Whatever the opinion of audiences come those end credits, there is no denying that this deeply personal passion project from Machine Gun Kelly has something powerful to say about people in the public eye.

Review: 'Taurus' is a stripped back piece of indie film making, which explores the creative process
Anchored by a music industry veteran in the form of Machine Gun Kelly, 'Taurus' is defined by rock star cliche, yet transcends those narrow perimeters to deliver a poignant piece of drama refreshingly free of pretension.

We Got This Covered is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Who is the killer in ‘The Little Things?’
Read Article Donald Trump categorically proves he’s a Spider-Man villain as election drama hands early release to final chapter in a Marvel trilogy
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after leaving the courtroom for the day at Manhattan Criminal Court during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments on April 19, 2024 in New York City. Former President Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial.
Read Article Will ‘The Blair Witch Project’ become a headache for Lionsgate and Blumhouse 24 years after its release?
the blair witch project
Read Article Everything from ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ you need to remember before ‘Knuckles’
Read Article How did Julie Andrews lose her voice?
Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
Related Content
Read Article Who is the killer in ‘The Little Things?’
Read Article Donald Trump categorically proves he’s a Spider-Man villain as election drama hands early release to final chapter in a Marvel trilogy
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after leaving the courtroom for the day at Manhattan Criminal Court during his trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments on April 19, 2024 in New York City. Former President Trump faces 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first of his criminal cases to go to trial.
Read Article Will ‘The Blair Witch Project’ become a headache for Lionsgate and Blumhouse 24 years after its release?
the blair witch project
Read Article Everything from ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ you need to remember before ‘Knuckles’
Read Article How did Julie Andrews lose her voice?
Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement