Berlin, 1981. Ken Barlow (Dennis Hopper), a washed up tour manager, hit his peak as a road manager for the Rolling Stones but things have been going downhill for him ever since. He has found salvation in Moody (Terrance Robay), an up and coming synth-pop artist, who he vies to take straight to the top of the pops. Obsessed by the idea that all publicity is good publicity, Barlow, together with his accomplice on the streets (David Hess, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT) incites a violent punk riot at Moody’s first concert. But that is only the first glimpse into Barlow’s bag of tricks that sends both him and Moody down a ever more destructive path.
On one hand, WHITE STAR is a film about the corrupt machinations of the entertainment industry, about cultural and personal myths, about father figures, childhood hopes, an almost metaphysical tale of purity and depravation – and the obligatory downfall of Ken Barlow who, despite proclaiming Moody’s music as “the damn future”, still cannot let go of his past. On the other hand, it is a film about the congruence of a film performances and private life: WHITE STAR is the last film starring Hopper before being arrested for drugs in Mexico and disappearing into rehab. The shooting of the film proved to be problematic, to say the least. Hopper comes dangerously close to the figure he portrays – and the only scenes that made it into the film show Hopper on a frenzied cocaine high.
Nevertheless – WHITE STAR shows one of the most intense, ruthlessly unadulterated performances Hopper has ever put to screen.