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How can dismantling punk be so punk?
on 4 May 2014
Version I saw: LoveFilm Instant stream
Photography/visual style: 5/10
Sid and Nancy is a very punk film. Shot in a very low-tech, rather shambolic style, it begins (in Sunset Blvd. style) with a dead person and then tells the story of how they got there.
The dead woman is Nancy Spungen, paramour of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman). It's clearly a great performance by Oldman in a breakthrough role in his career, but the character he is portraying is shown to have no talent, no musical ability, no virtues whatsoever except a somewhat greater mastery than most of punk's aggressive swagger.
What follows is a difficult piece to assess, because it is a ruthless, efficient character assassination of the central pair. It is arguably a mark of the success of the film that they are shown to have nothing notable or interesting about them, and are merely loathsome individuals with very mundane, everyday flaws. However, it does make you question why you did or would want to spend 112 minutes looking at them.
I am broadly a fan of the punk music style, but this is a lot more about the punk ethos than punk music. It fizzes with passive-aggressiveness which it directs primarily at its subjects, sneering viciously at their weaknesses and failings. I suppose that exactly like it's subject, the film is brutally passive-aggressive, a bit pointless, a bit self-indulgent, self-destructive and very, very punk.
For my full review, see my independent film blog on Blogspot, Cinema Inferno: [...]