How do you tell one of the most interesting, violent, drug-fueled, self-destructive, codependent, incredible stories in the history of music? For Alex Cox (Director of 1984’s cult hit REPO MAN) the answer was to throw himself into the project and to recruit the best possible actor to play Sid Vicious… I am writing, of course, about Gary Oldman (most recently Lt,/Comm. Gordon of the Chris Nolan BATMAN franchise, but who I will always remember for his role in THE FIFTH ELEMENT). Oldman is pitch perfect in his portrayal of this deeply flawed icon, despite an uneven film experience overall. Even Chloe Webb (TWINS) does a decent job in the other title role, playing Nancy Spungen, the heroin addict with whom Vicious falls violently in love.
The story of this tumultuous and ultimately destructive relationship was originally titled SID & NANCY: LOVE KILLS. I’m not sure why the full title didn’t stick, besides being a potential spoiler alert? SID & NANCY is a biographical sketch of the relationship of the title characters. Sid Vicious was already famous for his work with the Sex Pistols when he met young, american Nancy. We don’t learn a lot about their back-story from the movie. It appears that Sid’s love affair with both Nancy and drugs started around the same time (the movie actually insinuates that it is BECAUSE of Nancy that Sid first tries heroin). From the first hit (and subsequent sexual encounter), Sid and Nancy are inseparable. Instead of spending time practicing with the band and recording, Sid is content to stay with Nancy and do drugs, a self-destructive cycle that almost kills him and starts to tear apart the band.
Nancy doesn’t want to destroy Sid’s life so she agrees to stay in England while the Pistols go on tour in the United States. The tour is a last-ditch effort to save their careers but by this time Sid is already spiraling out of control. When the gigs start to suffer due to Sid’s intoxication, the band splits and everyone heads in their own directions. Sid and Nancy move to the United States where they live an increasingly erratic lifestyle, eventually setting fire to their Chelsea apartment. Sid’s attempt at a solo career is a train wreck; Nancy acts as his manager but by this point he isn’t able to complete a single show or remember his songs. Domestic violence becomes part of day to day life and then Nancy is found with multiple stab wounds in their apartment.
SID & NANCY is a difficult movie to watch. Sadly, this is primarily due to the uneven film-making and not the (at times) horrific subject matter. The sound on the film is terrible, a particular disappointment given this musically influenced story. Finally, the script (which was loosely followed) was pulled together from secondhand accounts from family and friends of the notorious couple. Despite the aforementioned performances of Oldman and Webb the rest of the cast just isn’t that great and can’t hold a scene. All in all, SID & NANCY is an interesting film but is by no means the modern classic for which I was hoping. It is, however, a great movie to show the dangers of drug use.
Video: (1080p, 1.85:1 Widescreen) Despite being filmed in 1986 the picture is clear and looks pretty decent in high definition. The colors are vibrant and sickly bringing us right into the world.
Audio: (English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) This is the worst audio track I have encountered on a Blu-ray. I tried it on multiple players and televisions with the same effect – the mix is uneven which results in difficulty (it’s almost impossible) hearing the dialogue over the other tracks.
For the Love of Punk (15:46) A high-def feature about the punk rock revolution and the movie. A pretty great little documentary short but it holds the film in higher regard that I do.
Junk Love (15:30) Another high-def feature, this one focuses on the relationship and background of both Sid and Nancy, including interviews and accounts from friends of the couple.
The disc also includes the Theatrical Trailer.