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Morbid biographical story of Sid Vicious, bassist with British punk group the Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. When the Sex Pistols break up after their fateful US tour, Vicious attempts a solo career while in the grip of heroin addiction. One morning, Nancy is found stabbed to death and Sid is arrested for her murder. Written by
Alexander Lum <aj_lum@postoffice. utas.edu. au>
Intense and well acted but ultimately depressing and unrevealing look at the infamous punk rock couple.
The brilliant performances of Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb in the title roles propel this bleak and depressing look into the calamitous relationship between Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious and American punk rock groupie Nancy Spungen. The characters are introduced to us in tragedy right from the opening scene, casting the rest of the film with a fatalistic sense of impending doom. These are two tortured souls in communion who seem at odds with just about every facet of society -- even the extreme punk rock counter-culture to which they both ostensibly belong.
A major problem with the film (and all the more reason to tip our hats to the two leads) is that Sid and Nancy are written as such abrasive and disagreeable characters, one is hard pressed to relate to them on any meaningful level.
And while the re-creation of their reckless and volatile rebelliousness is quite detailed and credible, we never get a sense of how they came to be so angry and tortured to begin with. Even the smallest glimpse at their inner turmoil would have gone a long way in creating sympathy and concern from the audience. Instead, director Cox relies on the pureness of their genuine love for each other to provide that hook. That strategy succeeds to the extent it does ONLY because of Oldman's and Webb's amazing transformation into these parts.
If you own a DVD player, try to get a hold of the Criterion Collection edition of this film. That disc contains some excellent, revealing footage of the REAL Sid and Nancy that was shot for a contemporary documentary on the Sex Pistols ill-fated 1978 tour of the USA. If nothing else, the footage will increase your appreciation for these two splendid performances.
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