SID & NANCY
MOVIE: **** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I’m not an avid punk rock fan (though I find some of the songs surprisingly compelling), and I was just a young kid when Sid Vicious and the Sex Pistols were at their height. I get the general upstart concept of punk rock, but I see the silliness it presents, which only works as a counterculture measure when there’s an upstanding culture to give the finger to.
However, even as someone who has never had any desire to inhibit this culture, I found Alex Cox’s biopic about Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen to be fascinating and disturbingly real. At its heart, “Sid & Nancy” is a love story about two alarmingly self-destructive people who live fast and die young in the heyday of the British punk rock scene.
The triumph of “Sid & Nancy” is the fact that Cox doesn’t glamorize the punk rock scene, or the rock star scene for that matter. At the same time, he doesn’t condemn it. Even a film like “Trainspotting,” which gave an unflinching look at heroin addiction, had a certain message to it. However, “Sid & Nancy” showed these young lovers in their element without actually passing judgement on them. From their early relationship in England where they plow through the streets not caring about the pain they inflict on society and each other, to their tragic end in New York, these characters embody the anger and confusion of leading a movement the consumed. them.
Even though the film features the story behind The Sex Pistols, it’s hardly a movie about a rock group. Instead, it’s an impassioned love story in the ugliest of settings.
As much as Alex Cox does his best work as a director with this film, the film’s success is also due to the brilliant acting of a young Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious and a less-young-but-still-brilliant Chloe Webb. Both manage to be revolting and empathetic at the same time. Webb, who has the more challenging role over overcoming the “Nauseating Nancy” moniker, is able to explode on screen with violent emotion but still give us a glimpse into what Vicious saw in her. Forget Jack and Rose from “Titanic”; forget Doctor Zhivago and Larissa; even forget Lady and the Tramp. This love story between Sid and Nancy is one of the most fascinating ones you’ll ever see.
The 25th anniversary Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of “Sid & Nancy” includes the theatrical trailer and two interesting 15-minute documentaries, “For the Love of Punk” and “Junk Love.” These featurettes take both a historic and contemporary look at the subject matter, often showing the general disdain for Nancy Spungen and the sympathetic remembrance of Sid Vicious. Less objective than they should be, they offer an interesting view of how these characters are remembered, both through the film and in music history.