Director: Alex Cox
Cast: Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, Andrew Schofiled, David Hayman, Kathy Burke, Courtney Love, Iggy Pop
Running Time: 112 minutes
SID AND NANCY depicts the relationship between Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) and Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb) that ended tragically when Spungen was killed, the exact happenings of how will forever remain unknown, and Vicious died of a heroin overdose only four months later.
The ability of this film to shock still manages to work even 30 years after its initial release and that is largely down to two breakout performances from Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. The two work so well together as the outcasts and definition of the punk era that the film, at times, borders of having a sentimental edge to scenes and the plot.
However, director Alex Cox is keenly aware to not glamorize what Sid and Nancy do. In an interview with him on the extras he comments on how, in the UK, SID AND NANCY was viewed as a biopic but in the States was seen more of a love story and that must have been a difficult wire to walk. When viewing the Sex Pistols and Vicious’ role within the punk scene, it’s something to admire because of how radical they were and how they changed things, despite the extreme lengths they went to, but this film isn’t so much a biopic. Yes, there are events that happened in real life and the film does follow a certain ‘true’ linear narrative, but Cox’s film treads upon surreal elements at times to heighten the focussed plot and romance of Sid and Nancy. A tactic that does crowd-please, certainly with the ending, but does not idealise.
Oldman is terrific, the chemistry he has with Webb is brilliant and the two embody their characters so fully that you’re completely drawn into whatever they’re doing and fully hang onto them. They completely own the frame and visibly decline as the film progresses, they’re working on another level here that many would label as method acting.
This restoration, supervised by cinematographer Roger Deakins who got his break on the film, is sublime and gritty at the same time. It’s not polished and shows the horror of the tragic lives that Vicious and Spungen lived in all its sadness. The iconic scene in the alley where Vicious and Nancy kiss whilst rubbish falls down around them is stunning in this restoration, as is Vicious’ “My Way” performance, both examples of the surreal aspect of the film. These scenes are juxtaposed with more graphic ones of drug use where the shine is taken away, that shine is completely absent within the last act of the film which makes this great viewing.
Upon its 30th Anniversary, SID AND NANCY is still fantastic and this restoration highlights all that is good about it.
SID AND NANCY’s 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray edition is released on 29th August.
Special Features on the DVD and Blu-ray Special Editions:
• New interview with Cinematographer Roger Deakins
• New interview with Director Alex Cox
• New interview with Don Letts (Director, DJ and presenter of ‘Punk on Film’ at the BFI: Southbank)
To celebrate this release, a launch event will take place on August 29th at Screen on the Green in Islington, where on the same day in 1977 The Clash and the Buzzcocks supported the Sex Pistols at their famous ‘Midnight Special’ showcase event organised by Malcolm Maclaren. The evening will include a screening of ’Scorpio Rising’, a film shown at the event in 1977, and a DJ set from music legend and punk filmmaker Don Letts.
For further information, please visit the Everyman Cinema website: http://www.everymancinema.com/films/film-info?film=14451