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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Ian Dury's life was tumultuous, but maybe not quite as exciting as this film. From the thrilling Peter Blake animated montage opening to a glorious 'coming of age' moment experienced by Baxter Dury at the end, the film won't let the viewer relax.

Andy Serkis is painfully realistic as Dury, forever imprisoned in his calliper and haunted by memories of being struck down with Polio, agonising confinement in an iron lung, and his time in the Chailey hospice for disabled children. The message of Chailey that stayed with Ian throughout his life was that if you fell down, you get yourself up again: which is all well and good, as long as those meant to encourage you are not sadists. The warder in charge of Dury's ward provided further inspiration for his irascibility. Dury's reaction to the man's fate is understandable, only shocking if you were 'on the board' and not in the ward.

There are surely few men whose wives and mistresses actually bond through the shared experience of living with, caring for and putting up with a man as 'difficult' as Dury. Olivia Williams and Naomie Harris give passionate performances. Ray Winstone gives a touching portrayal of father Bill Dury - himself ordering his son to get himself onto his feet - loving and gentle, despite a gruff demeanor.

This is as much Baxter Dury's story as it is his father's: From the moment of his birth, we follow Baxter's difficult childhood and his father's idiosyncratic involvement. In fact, Baxter shared the role of right-hand man for his father with Chaz Jankel - both in the band that started as the Kilburns (Kilburn and the High Roads) and evolved into the Blockheads - and in everyday life.

This is a tremendous acheivement. Dury might have scoffed and argued about goodness-knows-what, but I think he would be deeply moved by the film. Often frighteningly powerfull and funny, this is a high-standard Biopic of a much-missed man. Punk's Noel Coward crossed with Gene Vincent and Spartacus - Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Ian Dury!
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I must be in a bit of a music biography mood, but why not when there are a couple of cracking examples of the genre currently on the DVD rental market? This one concerns the life and times of the late Ian Dury, a boy crippled by polio in his early years who forged a career as a new wave poet and musician, but had a difficult family life and strained relationship with his eldest son, Baxter.

The central performance by Andy Serkis was a masterpiece; he managed to attain all of Dury's mannerisms, speech patterns and movement to a tee, which was no mean feat. The young actor playing his son Baxter (Bill Milner) was impressive, although he didn't seem to age much during the film, which was a little odd? The other central roles of Dury's first wife Betty (Olivia Williams) and his partner Denise (Naomie Harris) were also truly believable. The narrative form jumps around a bit and uses Dury's music hall inspired performances to show some of his backstory, especially the time when he was sent to an institution for the disabled and others of his distant, but loving father Bill (Ray Winstone),

Probably the best thing about this film, as well as the music, is the fact that the screenwriter and director didn't shy away from showing Dury's volatile and often violent nature, which is a fact often missing from more sycophantic films. In conclusion, myself and my husband really enjoyed this film and it's a must see for any music fan.
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A great biopic that perfectly captures all the facets of the genius that was Ian Dury. As befits the man, his tale is told in a quirky fashion with much humour and pathos. It doesn't shy away from our hero's less than heroic qualities, especially the way he treated those around him, which is to the picture's credit. It charts his rise to success and the huge amount of graft he put in to make himself the star that he was. It shows the effect success had on him and those around him. In flashback it shows just why he was the way he was. It's deftly scripted and moving. It has a feeling of realism, perhaps due to the close involvement of the Blockheads and Dury's family. Andy Serkis' portrayal is a real tour de force. He just IS Dury. Ray Winstone in a short but powerful cameo casts a brooding presence that threatens to dominate the film. The film shows the highs and lows of this true individual, and even if you don't appreciate the music you will appreciate the story. Great stuff.
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on 7 April 2015
Ian Dury was a charismatic, talented and creative star with a wicked sense of humour and fiery personality at times, yet at other times a genuinely nice person as this film shows, exploring his life and strength of character in overcoming setbacks and physical ill-health, his turbulent love life with women, his friendships and fall-outs with band members, his determined rise to stardom and a lot more; some sad moments, lots of hilariously happy and fun ones also.

I watched the DVD with my partner, as we're big fans of Mr Dury and his brilliant songs, and fondly remember enjoying watching him on Top of the Pops on TV years ago. 'Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick' is my favourite tune by Mr Dury and it features in this DVD - along with lots of other songs he wrote and performed too.

I highly-recommend this DVD to anyone who is a fan of Ian Dury and anyone whose never heard of him but likes great 70's and 80's pop music and it's one I'm adding to my collection of must-see again and again movies/documentaries.

The real Ian Dury features in this; showing footage and pictures from the past, and also, the amazing actor who plays him too (mostly throughout the film) gives an accurate uncanny and spot-on performance of the great man himself.
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on 31 January 2016
I had never heard of Ian Dury before this movie came out. Why would I? We Americans are clueless on so many things.
I am a huge Andy Serkis fan and prefer his live performances to his motion capture ones and I definitely enjoyed his performance. I have enjoyed it so much that I am watching clips of the real Ian Dury on YouTube and buying MP3s and CDs of his work. Wow. I sincerely wish I had not missed the existance of this man. To have seen a live performance must have been epic.
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on 26 April 2013
This does a remarkable job of capturing what is a difficult personality and making him both likeable and someone who you shudder at his streak of nastiness twisted in with humour. Reminds me of John Lennon. More to admire than not? The film lets you make that call but in doing so, it makes no pretence to be a straight bio-it is far more anarchic and true to the art and creativity of Ian Dury. Andy Serkis does an amazing job in bringing Ian Dury into cinematic life and the same goes for those who acted the parts of the Blockheads. Did it need someone of Ray Winstone's considerable talent to play a bit part? A bit over the top for me. But what comes across, like with Mr Lennon, Mr Dury was a creative arse of the highest order. I thank him for his music and vision but I would have hated to live alongside him. great film, highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2010
Andy Serkis heads a great team of players in this movie about the much-missed Ian Dury. Bill Milner, in particular, who plays Ian's young son, more than holds his own among a cast of highly distinguished and distinctive actors, which is a tribute to the strength of his performance.

From the opening titles designed by Peter Blake the film has enormous impact and maintains a furious pace throughout and these features are key elements in conveying the personality of its subject and the effect he had on everyone around him - for good or ill.

Likewise the narrative sequence of the film is frequently interrupted and offers fragments of the story, rather like a mosaic, and this feature provides insights into the profoundly disturbing story of Ian Dury's upbringing and throws light on the driven nature of his creative gifts.

Altogether a fine tribute to a great musician.
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on 18 December 2013
I thought this film was a good insight into the life of Ian Dury and the fight for survival having suffered the humiliations and abuse of an institution for disabled children and growing up with a disability in working class Essex .he certainly does not come across as the most likable character but his music is sheer genius and I wish there were more like him around today
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on 6 January 2014
Bought this as I loved Ian Dury. Andy Serkis is excellent as Ian Dury, telling the story from the very beginning, from a child with polio in the years after the last war, to his fame and fortune as a rock star. Highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 February 2012
So surmises Andy Serkis, as punk poet extraordinaire, Ian Dury. How the most unlikely of popsters made it to the top despite crippling polio and how that both complicated and fuelled him as both a person and an 'entertainer' (as he describes himself). When I heard that this film was being made and Serkis was cast as the uniquely ambiguous Dury, I was both delighted and deeply satisfied. That Dury's legacy was to be laid out by 'Golem'. Not that we've seen a lot of Serkis, the actor, though his physical adaptability and no bulls**t, in-the-face approach bore well. And that in my mind, he would do proud the now late, rascally, lyrically dexterous Essex wide boy, Ian Dury.

I've been aware of the Blockhead's music rather than an avid fan but do at least own their greatest hits CD. I also really like my rock'n'roll biopics - from The Doors, 24 Hour Party People and Sid & Nancy. The more honest and frenetic the better. The ups and downs, the grime as well as the fame. That way, we can live for a couple of hours as the 'dream' but knowing as we do, the downsides. I like them a bit mysterious too, with symbolisms and dreams and druggy effects. That way, I tell myself, I don't have to actually do things that like myself, in 'real' life.

So, how does this fit in with those others? Surprisingly well - and better than more sedate reviewers had suggested. In depth, without being overlong, I know more about Dury, his psyche and his life - and I was entertained along the way. Which is about all one can ask for, really. Except, we get get some other great British acting talents adding colour and familiarity to the motley crew and the film's overall colourful tapestry.

Downsides - Yes. A couple. The oft cited film's lack of portraying the big time - 'Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick' stuck out like a sore thumb when it hit no 1 in the UK singles chart. (I remember it on BBC Radio 1's Sunday chart show at the time) More than a novelty song, it really was a breath of fresh air. That must have been on Top Of the Pops - it's certainly on YouTube now. The film should have shown that, at least.

In conclusion, Serkis is great (anyone else being unimaginable) as is the witty script, cast, period detail and most else. Whether a Blockhead fan or not, this film really adds to the line-up of decent music biopics. Like its subject, it's bitty and scarrelous but entertaining enough for most people who want to take a peek behind the scenes of one of music's most charismatic and misunderstood British heroes.
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