Sid and Nancy
In 1986, Alex Cox who had previously directed the sci-fi-comedy cult classic Repo Man shifted focus to another punk rock themed story, this time taking on the real life legend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious who was charged with killing his girlfriend Nancy Spungen after which he died from a heroin overdose upon his release from prison for a separate crime.
Sid and Nancy (1986) looks at the couples’ stormy relationship surrounding the rise and disbanding of The Pistols. Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight) gives an amazing performance as Vicious, the lanky, spike haired British punk star who led a life of wreckless abandon. Chloe Webb (Twins) is also wonderful as the extremely annoying, desperate groupie Nancy Spungen. The two punk brats fall in love and soon turn to a life of co-dependency and drug use which fuels their bombastic relationship and then sends them into a downward spiral.
One aspect of the film I really didn’t think worked was the portrayal of Johnny Rotten. Cox chose to have him be sort of a goofy twerp, whereas it’s obvious if you’ve seen Rotten in real life he has a razor sharp, sarcastic wit and attitude to match, both of which are missing from the film. I suppose this may have been done as an extra measure to keep Sid the main focus of the story.
Sid and Nancy isn’t a particularly great film (it lacks any real emotional impact) but it does give viewers a basic look at what the 70s UK punk scene was like and delivers two standout performances from Oldman and Webb as the twisted lovestruck urchins who bounced off of each other like pinballs until their untimely, tragic deaths. They surely lived too fast and furious, died too young, and left two very pale looking corpses.