Review by Sean Boelman
Taurus is the type of film whose existence is merely a gimmick, banking on the popularity of its lead star as a musician to bring the project a higher profile. While it might be an interesting experiment for writer-director Tim Sutton, it fails due to the lack of capability of lead actor Colson Baker (better known as Machine Gun Kelly).
The film follows the final days of a rising star in the music industry as he attempts to find the inspiration to make one last song. It’s a concept that will intrigue many, particularly if you are a fan of Machine Gun Kelly’s music, but it’s done in such a meandering, derivative way that it is difficult to enjoy.
There is also the fact that the film is extraordinarily dour. Granted, Baker’s public persona is all about being unhinged, but that personality is not something that an entire feature film should be built around. Sutton takes the film entirely seriously, rather than making it a satire, and that was maybe the biggest mistake he could have made.
Baker is playing a character that is obviously not too far from home here — a disillusioned rockstar soul-searching for inspiration — but that feeling of authenticity does not necessarily equal a good performance. There is very little emotion to Baker’s delivery, and as such, it’s really difficult to connect with the character.
It would be nice if the character were written with any significant depth, but this is yet another story of a tortured artist. Sutton’s attempts to do something more ambitious with the script and create an almost dreamscape-like feel does not help, as it begins to feel frustratingly ambiguous at points.
However, perhaps the worst thing about the film is that it seems to think it is brilliant and profound, yet it has nothing new to add to the conversation about fame. This is a cautionary tale the likes of which we have seen hundreds of times before, and the only thing that makes it unique is the gimmick of having Baker play a character similar to himself.
It's a shame, because there are some genuinely interesting ideas happening here creatively. The cinematography and atmosphere are immersive and well-crafted, drawing us into the world of the protagonist. And the soundtrack, featuring music by MGK, is pretty solid too (if you are a fan of his music, of course).
Taurus is ultimately a gigantic waste of time. As a starring vehicle for Baker, it can get a bit of slack because he does fit the role perfectly. However, he simply does not have the charisma or star power to carry a film on his own — at least not yet.
Taurus is now in theaters and on VOD.