- Actors: James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, Michèle Breton, Ann Sidney
- Directors: Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell
- Writers: Donald Cammell
- Producers: David Cammell, Sanford Lieberson
- Format: Widescreen
- Language: English
- Classification: 18
- Studio: Warner
- VHS Release Date: 3 April 2000
- Run Time: 100 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B00004CUX6
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 238,562 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Performance (Widescreen Edition) [VHS] 
A young gangster (James Fox) seeks refuge from the mob in a basement belonging to a fading rock star (Mick Jagger). After taking a trip, he begins to cross dress and experiment with his sexuality. The directorial debut of Nicolas Roeg explores both the liberating impulses and threat of anarchy which provided the twin motors of the 'Swinging Sixties'.
The extraordinary 1970 British film Performance marked the directorial debut of cinematographer Nicolas Roeg (working with Donald Cammell). James Fox portrays a London gangster who has to hide away for awhile and ends up staying with a fading rock star (Mick Jagger). The latter recognises something of his old, daring self in the violent criminal, and after pushing open the boundaries of the hood's experience with psychedelics, the two men begin to intertwine as one. The film is an exciting pool of ideas about real and presumed power, about the mysteries of "performance" as a pressing outward toward an abandonment of identity and embrace of revelation. Beneath it all, however, is Roeg and Cammell's suspicion that the worlds of these two men--pop shaman and underworld soldier--are not dissimilar in their self-serving goals. --Tom KeoghSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
And, by the way, this is Cammell's film, not Roeg's. Roeg has, over the years, sought from time to time to distance himself from Performance. His photography is very, very good, but the whole philosophy, style, presentation, characterisation is strictly Cammell. The greatest British film since Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger rode the range.
I was really excited when I saw this was available on Blu Ray and immediately ordered it. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that Warners have used the US master that features some truly awful dubbing that completely wrecks the early part of the movie.
The UK DVD had the correct audio track that kept Johnny Shannons', John Bindons' and Stanley Meadows' proper voices. This Blu Ray does not and its painfully obvious. Even more curiously, in a later scene in the bedroom of Harry Flowers (Shannons' character) it appears to revert back to the correct audio!
This is a big disappointment as the picture and sound are both very good on this release and of course the film is one that if you're a fan of classic British movies you have to see. Its certainly a film that divides opinion, eliciting either gushing praise or downright hatred depending on who you speak to. Personally I love it because it challenges you with every viewing.
I would advise, however, that you read up on the movie first. There are so many subliminal references and flash frames hidden in the film that coming to it cold is not recommended.
Of course, you may still find it pretentious and too pleased with its own cleverness or you will relish the unconventional nature and strange atmosphere that pervades the entire movie, right down to the head-scratching ending. Make sure you get the right version though.
I don't think I can add much more to some of the eloquent reviews already posted. I have an encyclopaedic knowledge of it, and have lost count ( 20+?) of the times I have seen it.
If only the full cut had been released.
If I waxed lyrical about it, I wouldn't know where to stop.
Just two points. Read Nabokov's "Despair", as it was being read by both Cammell and Roeg whilst they were filming it. The novel connects with the film. Also : a companion piece to this masterpiece is "The Servant", in which James Fox also appears.
And it does indeed excel for the most part - a clear crisp cut with a soundtrack nicely audible.
My gripe is simple. During the Memo From Turner scene the soundtrack is inexplicably made by putting one channel of the stereo through both speakers. This means you can't hear the music properly and (as someone pointed out already) Turner's 'here's to old England' toast is inaudible. But then so is much of the guitar and other music in this sequence. As its the highlight of the entire film the overall impression of a long-awaited DVD is very poor and I suspect I will not watch it again, preferring a DVD recording of last time the film was shown on BBC2 - at least you can hear the music properly. How could Warners have got this so wrong?
Don't get me wrong - Performance is a brilliant, BRILLIANT film. It warrants ***** on its own, it's just this release is flawed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very dark film, not without slight humor, set in a drug-fuelled house of a fading rock star in 1960s London. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Barbara
A fascinating look into a almost vanished world, and was only 40 years ago.Published 4 months ago by Selwyn Roberts