Directed by Alex Cox
Starring Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, Courtney Love
Sid Vicious was a degenerate piece of work. On the flipside Nancy Spungeon was an equally degenerate piece of work. Too often I hear them referred to as the Romeo and Juliet of punk rock. If you take into account that they all died young due to their own idiotic choices then yeah, I guess it works. But unlike two Victorian teenagers Sid and Nancy didn’t have family rivalry or class warfare working against them. Instead they had drugs. You do the math. Granted this is its own form of suicide but Nancy’s alleged murder at the hand of Sid Vicious is still a topic of debate.
But all that aside we’re here to talk about the movie Sid & Nancy. And what a movie it is. Gary Oldman is incredible as Sid and Chloe Bell is just as memorable as Sid’s partner in crime Nancy Spungeon. Director Alex Cox really took great effort to capture the urban decay from the late 1970’s on both sides of the Atlantic. The costuming, lingo and most importantly the soundtrack all provide a time warp to a long gone era.
Biopics are always an interesting endeavor. At their best they capture a hint of what the character’s real life might have been like and at their worst they are over exaggerated, “print the legend,” self aggrandizing ego strokes (I’m looking at you The Doors). Alex Cox as both the director and co-writer takes great care to not preach or hypothesize about what really happened in the Hotel Chelsea. He also makes Nancy look a great deal less manipulative and crazy than she was purported to be in real life. This could have been the aforementioned “print the legend” story of Sid and Nancy but thankfully Cox chose a different direction.
Oh, and Courtney Love is in this movie as well. She has a minor role and she plays an annoying groupie with realism. Wonder why that is?
Widescreen 1.85:1. One of the great things about blu-ray is the ability to take an older film that has been weathered a bit and clean it up. The transfer here looks really good. Blu-ray is starting to grow on me.
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. It sounds good. Even with all Nancy’s screeching and Sid’s mumbled words.
The Packaging and Special Features
If you want a real “collector’s edition” of this movie then pick up the Criterian Collection DVD from the late 90’s. There are far more special features. This disc has two featurettes, For the Love of Punk and Junk Love. Neither of them really shed any kind of light on the punk movement that you haven’t already seen on endless reruns of Behind the Music. Also included is theatrical trailer. Pretty standard stuff, for a run of the mill dvd release. I cannot understand why studios think they can trot out crap like this on blu-ray and expect people to pay a premium price. That’s crap.
If you want to see just how good Gary Oldman has always been then this movie is for you. If you want to see just how unglamorous the punk movement was then this is the movie for you. If you want a Collector’s Edition of Sid & Nancy look elsewhere.
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10
The Movie 8/10
The Video 9/10
The Audio 9/10
The Packaging and Special Features 4/10
Overall (Not an Average) 6/10