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Film review: Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

7 January 2010 3:10 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Andy Serkis's recreation of Dury gives Peter Bradshaw goosepimples, and his vocals are eerily good

A barnstorming, passionate performance from Andy Serkis brings 1970s ­music legend Ian Dury stunningly back to life in this gutsy biopic, written by Paul Viragh, directed by Mat Whitecross and produced by Serkis himself. It's obviously a labour of love, but it never looks laborious. Dury was the singer-songwriter and pugnacious polio ­survivor who in the glorious anyone-can-have-a-go era of punk became a mega-star. Andy Serkis's recreation of Dury gave me goosepimples, and his vocals – Serkis himself sings all the classic tracks with the real band, the Blockheads – are eerily good.

As portrayed by Serkis, Dury is not just a wild man; he's an aesthete and provocateur: the missing link between Oscar Wilde and Morrissey, with a soupçon of Boomtown Rat vintage Bob Geldof. He's also, interestingly, a touch more aspirational socially than you'd think. »

- Peter Bradshaw

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