3 September 2010

A British Biopic of Rock and Roll Proportions

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll – Mat Whitecross

Going into this film, i hadn’t known much about it, only knowing that Andy Serkis was the lead and that it was biopic about a famous British musician. I’m not going to lie and tell you i knew of this person, because i hadn’t. I came into the film not knowing of Ian Dury and his musical legacy which he had seemed to have made. When you sit down and watch a biopic not having a clue that the person is, you need to be informed, you need to be given the vital information about their life, and what made them famous. Not like the recent John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, where you’re expected to know who John Lennon is and respond to the way he acts as being “John Lennon-ish”. Recently released on DVD Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll is the latest biopic, named after a famous Ian Dury song of the same name, it follows the rise to fame and documents the struggle Dury has with a mixture of family problems, battling a childhood disease of polio, drug and drink problems and becoming a better musician. His manic lifestyle is what makes Dury the person he is well known to be, with the wild parties, the crazy stage shows and the complicated relationship problems. Well as i don’t know of Dury and his legacy, I’m just going by what I’ve seen in the film.

As pointed out before Dury is played by Serkis and he plays him with both humorous and tender moments, creating one of the most complicated characters I’ve ever seen, in instances you want to hate him but in others you wish you were more like him. He tries to understand the world around him in a different perspective which then unleashes itself onto other people’s life’s, either affecting them for better or for worse. Along with the storytelling of Dury’s rise to fame, it also has segments involving Dury’s songs with Serkis singing them to a crowd, which breaks the fourth wall where the sings intertwine with the story and become a part of the set up. These performances are guaranteed meant to symbolise and replicate the performances Dury would give, and they are certainly “different”. It has moments of humour and moments of tragedy but it still isn’t in the same par as other musician biopics released over the last century, which notable examples such as Walk The Line, Ray and I’m Not There. Having a decent British cast behind does help and it does have its moments which outshine the whole of Nowhere Boy but it still isn’t a story i would love to know more about.


Simon Childs

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