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A documentary about the punk band The Sex Pistols. The film tries to lighten some of the backgrounds of their way through the punk era while telling the story of the band from zero back to zero. Features lots of interviews and comments of folks who were involved. Written by
The first Julian Temple documentary on the Sex Pistols, 'The Great Rock n'Roll Swindle' was a gimmicky treatment that suggested the creation of the band was all a clever confidence trick perpetuated by Malcolm Maclaren. In his version the Pistols were a personal creation that deliberately manipulated the media and the 'suits' that ran the music industry into paying out vast amounts of cash even when the band failed to produce any material.
This second version of events is a little more honest. Maclaren is shown to be a self-deluded egotist, the real driving force being 'Johnny Rotten', and the band, far from having the upper hand, were in fact ripped off financially by the very people they were supposed to be rebelling against.
It all ended in a shambolic final concert where Rotten wails out 'No Fun' for 15 minutes and then walks off with a smirking, 'Ever felt you've been cheated?'
Trouble is; this is a lie as well. The Pistols carried on after Lydon left; sad fun and games with the Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs and Sid Vicious' infamous rendering of 'My Way' being the 'highlights'. What's more, within months of Johnny Rotten's noble statement about not selling out at the end of the documentary, the Pistols reformed in the 21st century and gave progressively pathetic concerts.
It's still an interesting documentary but I guess the myth has now become so mixed up with the legend that anything approaching the truth is lost for ever.
This documentary does feature, however, an archive interview with Sid Vicious whose real name was John, Lydon affectionately remembers - which I have never seen before. It says more about the times than anything else in the film. Although dressed in his trade mark Nazi t-shirt and initially punctuated with all the predictable anarchic attitudes, this veneer gradually slips away to reveal a young naïve man, who's life along with his heroin addiction was spiraling out of control.
No fun, indeed.
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