Flamboyant entertainer Ian Dury, backed by the Blockheads, takes to the stage, explaining to his audience how, as a child, he contracted polio from a swimming pool and attended a special needs school where he was bullied, particularly by orderly Hargreaves, a fact which shaped his tough and frequently iconoclastic approach to life, culminating in his controversial contribution to the Year of the Disabled. From his early days with Kilburn and the High Roads, playing seedy pubs with no dressing rooms Ian moves onto chart success with the Blockheads, collaborating with musician Chaz Jankel. His private life is complicated as, separated from the tolerant Betty with whom he remains friends but refuses to divorce for many years, he lives with the much younger Denise along with his adored son Baxter, who will himself become a performer. Ian dies in 2000, having packed an enormous amount of living into a comparatively short life. Written by
don @ minifie-1
An interesting take on the life and times of Ian Dury...
Back in 1977 while punk was just getting going, a band called Ian Dury and the Blockheads released an album called 'New Boots and Panties'. A few years later, feeling a bit nostalgic, I bought said album really cheap. I still have it today; in fact I'm listening to it as I type this review. Now, onto the film, it's a biopic all about Ian Dury, his fight against disability and his rise to fame. Here's a brief summary before I tell you my thoughts (summary haters please mingle with the audience while I write the next paragraph).
Ian Dury was an entertainer, or that's what he always said he was interviewed. He had been struck down with polio when he was young and this left him withered down his left side. When we first see him, he is with another band who are rehearsing downstairs while his wife, Betty, gives birth upstairs. Later, after their last gig, he meets Denise Roudette, with whom he has an affair. They move in together and a while later, his son, Baxter, comes to stay with them. As Ian puts a new band together, including musician and songwriter Chaz Jankel, Baxter struggles to come to terms with the chaotic lifestyle he has been thrown into. The film plots his rise to fame and the effect it has on Ian and those around him. It also tells of his early life in flashback, his relationship with his father, Bill, and his unhappy childhood in an institution. I won't say any more as I don't want to give too much away.
Made in a very theatrical style, this film cuts from live action to animation, to live musical performances and back again. It all sounds a bit chaotic, but, for me at least, it works. At the centre is a really great performance from Andy Serkis as Ian Dury, although he doesn't particularly look like him, he has all his mannerisms down to a tee. I also thought Bill Milner played the part of Baxter Dury very well, it can't have been an easy part for a young actor and I thought he coped with it pretty well. Similarly, Wesley Nelson played the part of Young Ian Dury very well. I should also give honourable mentions to Olivia Williams as Ian's wife, Naomie Harris as Denise Roudette, Tom Hughes as Chaz Jankel, and nice cameos from both Ray Winstone as Bill Dury (Ian's dad) and Noel Clarke as Desmond.
Although Ian Dury wasn't the easiest person to get along with (for those that don't know, he passed away in 2000) and consequently not the nicest man in the world, I found this quite an enjoyable film to watch. I can't say I'm a huge fan of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, but I do recognise that Ian was a very talented chap and I always respected him as an artiste. Later in his career he appeared in quite a few films, not a bad actor. Over all, it's quite an interesting film, very touching at times but also quite bold in its approach. I know it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but still recommended.
My score: 7.1/10
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