Mini Music Movie Review: Sid and Nancy (1986)

Sid and Nancy is one of those tragic rock love stories people can’t seem to let go of. The story of Nancy’s mysterious murder is well known and has been picked apart by theorists numerous times. Almost ten years after the death of the couple, director Alex Cox released this movie based around the two. Since then it’s received both critical and fan praise for being one of the best biopics. I’ve seen the movie two times now and I can’t figure out why people like it so much.

Gary Oldman did an excellent job as Sid Vicious. He was believable, looked like him, and made you forget you were watching an actor and not the man himself. Seeing him fall further into his drug addiction, you actually feel sorry for him. The same can’t be said about Chole Webb who played Nancy. Many felt she did a great job portraying Vicious’ girlfriend and maybe she did; it’s hard to say since I’ve never seen much about Nancy. But I found her to be loud, annoying, brash, and whiny. And I couldn’t stand to look at her crooked mouth for another minute. As I mentioned, this could’ve been who Nancy really was, but it’s hard to say. When I watched the movie the first time, I wanted both of them to die. After this second viewing, I was ready for Nancy to be killed off.

Since this is a biopic, a lot of the material in the film has to be taken questioned. Johnny Rotten himself has defamed the movie saying a lot of the information was wrong and it was made in an attempt to cash in on the tragedy. He later said the only thing Cox got right was the name “Sid.” And he has a good point. During some research it doesn’t state where Cox got his information from. Usually, biopics are based on books or bandmates are involved with the script. That doesn’t seem to be the case with this movie. Since I don’t know much about the Sex Pistols I can’t even really say what’s true or not, but during the entire time I kept wondering where this information was coming from. Reports claim some of it came from Joe Strummer of the Clash, who Rotten hated. It all sounds a little weird to me.

Considering how dysfunctional the movie presents Sid and Nancy’s relationship, the movie is pretty entertaining. There’s a little focus on the Sex Pistols, but most of the film takes place after Viscous is kicked out and attempts a solo career. Seeing the couple argue, fight, and lie their way into more drugs is harrowing. You almost feel bad for them, until the movie keeps going and going and going. It’s just too damn long. It may have been just me, but it got boring during the second half. The couple did even more drugs and had more fights. It’s as if it was repeating itself to say look how bad drugs are. Not to mention there are moments in the film that try way too hard to be artsy. Slow motion shots of garbage falling around the couple, kids dancing, and the like feel unnecessary to the film. Sometimes they just don’t fit in. It’s not a terrible film, but I wouldn’t call it one of the best rock biopics ever made.


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