Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll. "Sid and Nancy" are crammed to the brim with those things, as well as a massive helping of death. This biopic follows the love affair between Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, set in the grimy, bloody, filthy punk subculture of the era -- and Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb are absolutely amazing.
Vicious (Oldman) was part of rising punk band the Sex Pistols when he met Spungen (Webb), an American groupie whom he finds oddly fascinating, despite the fact that her voice could etch glass. They also fight all the time, but make up just as fast.
So much to the disgust of the other Sex Pistols (especially Johnny Rotten) begin a passionate affair full of love, hate, sex and heroin addiction; Vicious lost focus on the band and drifting out on his own with Nancy. Little by little, the lovers slid into a hell of drugs, squalor and self-loathing -- until the day when Spungen died of a stab wound in the Chelsea Hotel.
They say that a lot of "Sid and Nancy" is fictionalized, but I'll freely admit that I'm not sure how much was. One thing is for sure -- the movie is a raw, painfully bleak experience occasionally lightened by moments of actual love and romance, but mostly overshadowed by the drugs and violence that were always present in Spungen and Vicious' relationship.
Alex Cox also does a brilliant job painting the punk subculture of the time -- lots of nastiness, screaming, blood, grime, garbage-filled alleys and howling music. And he spends the entire movie slowly sliding Spungen and Vicious down into their own private hell, alienating everybody and wrecking their bodies with drugs. The most horrible part is that he really makes you FEEL how they started with the world at their feet, but ended up in a world as small as their squalid hotel room.
The only problem is that sometimes he goes a bit overboard on the symbolism. Think garbage raining down like flowers during a Sid/Nancy kiss, or the weird prophetic dream where Sid shoots a "punk angel" Nancy only to have her come up onstage and embrace him.
Oldman and Webb are absolutely stunning in this role -- Oldman's face isn't quite like Vicious', but his mumbling emaciated performance is perfect. And every time you start to get sick of Vicious' antics, Oldman makes you feel sorry for him. And Webb's portrayal of Nancy is shrill and annoying enough to peel paint ("Whyyyyyyy?! I aaaaaaam noooooot! We are SO maaarried!"), but it's absolutely spot-on.
"Sid and Nancy" leaves you wondering if it's a rock'n'roll love story, or the tragic slide of two junkies into oblivion. Or, you know, both.
on March 24, 2004
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD version of the film.
This movie while distrubing has an important message. This film shows the devastating effects of heroin abuse in graphic detail.
We see the couple lying in bed high on heroin, completely oblivious to the danger of the fire that they started in their apartment. We see them become severly depressed and suicidal. As a Christian I find a message like this important to a film.
With regards to the graphic detail of the troubles one can liken it to the depiction of the crucifixion in "The Passion of the Christ" or the graphic depiction of radiation poisoning in the anti-war film "The day after" While some scenes I found unnecessary for the depiction, it is clear they wanted to appeal to a broader audience.
This film may offend many audiences and is certainly not for children.
The Criterion DVD has many extras including a phone interview with Sid. It also has the the infamous TV interview by Bill Grundy which led to thousands of complaints and ruined his career.
It also has 2 short films and an audio commentary track which is also good.
on February 29, 2004
The tragic brutal love story of the "sex pistols" base player Sid Vicious and his American girlfriend Nancy Spungen. These performances are amazing. Gary Oldmen should have won an Oscar. This movie should have been nominated at least. I'd rather have this win best picture than "platoon". This is a depressing dark story, which could be funny at times. I'm not really a big "Sex Pistols" fan but this movie I still say this is one of the greatest movie of all time. I'm not saying it is but one of. This movie will get you interested in "Sex Pistols". Gary Oldmen and Chloe Webb are amazing in this film. They each should have won an Oscar, because this movie is just amazing showing Love Kills. The movie is really great which sometimes could make you cry. Not that I did you know but you know somebody. The thing that sucks is the Criterion Collection is out of print. Then you have to get it on ebay for 50 bucks I mean c'mon. If you haven't seen this, even if you aren't not a big "Sex Pistols" fan, you will love this film.
on June 16, 2002
When I saw this movie, I WAS obsessed with it for a while, saw it maybe...God knows how many times...though I'd watch it 2 times a day. I know a lot of people are going to go, "DUH! HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO FIGURE THAT OUT??" but after finding more info on the Pistols and Sid and Nancy in particular, I realized this movie is a freakin fairy tale. It's only BASED on real events, and I don't understand why b/c I know a lot of people would like to know about Sid and Nancy and would like to know what REALLY happened. For example, in the club scene, when Sid knocks reporter "Dick Dent" with a guitar...that really happened, and the reporters name was Nick Kent. Why not use his real name? Everyone already knows...And the fact that Nancy goes to see her GRANDPARENTS when in NY...I'm sure everyone's read Nancy's bio and they KNOW she was at her PARENT'S...what are they trying to conceal? Gee, how subtle. And the very blunt dislike the grandparents show for her and kick her out, that's just not true, but a very obviuos attempt at making Nancy look more wretched and vile than she already is. And last but not least, the only other thing that really made the movie slightly unbearable was the fact that Cloe Webb is so UGLY! Good Christ, Nancy was 20 when she died, Chloe looks FIFTY!! (Just watch the movie and see). I think that Courtney Love would have made a better Nancy as Nancy is now sometimes referred to as "THe Original Courtney Love"
And maybe somebody who wuold know would like to tell me differently but I think they overdid Nancy a LITTLE too much. I mean, nobody is THAT irritating! I've read her mom's bio on her, and that seems to support my statement right. She wasn't THAT immature! I think most of the time she was more [angry] than immature.
on March 20, 2002
Humorously tragic (or is it tragically humorous?) fantasia about the love affair between Sid Vicious, infamous bassist of the Sex Pistols, and his wife Nancy, a former groupie of the band...There were two movies during that decade that snatched the Zeitgeist, both directed by Alex Cox -- *Repo Man* and *Sid and Nancy*. Both were required viewing if you wanted to be considered hip....Surprisingly, each movie holds up very well today, particularly this one. One would've thought that Alex Cox would eventually become one of our great directors...At any rate . . . this movie meticulously chronicles heroin addiction and all-around nihilist despair without making either one seem too cool. The obvious danger inherent in this type of movie is to make it all look like..."some fashion show". Cox, perhaps because his lovers are so doomed from the outset, maintains a surprisingly detached tone throughout, occasionally displaying a somewhat superior, From-On-High attitude.(Scenes that come to mind: the trash falling like vile snowflakes on the couple as they kiss by a dumpster; Nancy bemusedly watching their litter-strewn room at the Chelsea burn down, etc.) These directorial interruptions are generally to the detriment of the film. However, there's enough focus on the personal stuff -- the sexual relationship, the drug addiction, the festering KFC bucket on the nightstand next to the bed -- to compensate for the intermittent immaturities. Despite the lack of narrative incident, the atmosphere is finally so fanatically detailed that by the end we feel as if we've been through some sort of epic treatment. --...The general complaint seems to be that *Sid and Nancy* takes too many liberties with the "real story" (as if anyone knows, or should even care, what that might be). Okay, look: it's a MOVIE, guys, not a documentary. It's BASED on real people and events. It makes no claim to be a true story in the sense of being factually correct in every particular. That being said, I feel that it IS a true story in the sense of mood, of tone, of atmosphere, and especially of the sad end-result. *Sid and Nancy* is thematically, even spiritually, a true story. And that's more than enough.
on January 18, 2002
The first time I saw the movie "Sid and Nancy" I find it very creepy, rude and bad, when I knew more about the Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen I review the movie and find it good. Gary Oldman as Sid Vicious is great, he act very good. Chloe Webb as Nancy Spungen is good but she doesn't look very much like her and I hate her blonde hair, that must be a wig. The guy who act as Johnny Rotten don't look at him at all and also the guy who act as Paul Cook the drummer doesn't look like him also. Lot of falses in this movie. I read the book "I don't want to live this life" by Deborah Spungen the mother of Nancy and some little facts to say is Nancy only had one grand-mother from her mother side who was still alive, so I don't understand they put a grand-father in there and also Nancy had one sister close to her age, and the girl who act as her sister look much younger then Nancy and she only have a brother, not two like in the movie. The movie is good but it not very accurate. I think Courtney Love will had been great to play the part of Nancy because she looklike Nancy and her personality is very much like Nancy but Chole Webb was good in the movie. I recomand it to any Sex Pistols fan and Sid and Nancy fan but some fan may not like the movie because is not so accurate.
on December 24, 2001
I can sum it up for you with four basic points:
1. Great performance by Gary Oldman
2. Appropriately bleak direction by Alex Cox
3. Incredible attention to detail by the wardrobe department
4. ...awful screenplay
This film could have been the greatest punk rock biopic ever...instead, it ranks just below "The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle" on the list of Lies Perpetrated Against the Sex Pistols. It's easy to see why John Lydon despises this film...it does nothing but mistreat him the entire time. It makes him out to be a manipulative, egotistical tyrant...which is about as far from the truth as one can come. Drew Schofield is not necessarily a bad actor, but his characterization in no way resembles the real John. And on top of the obvious differences in the character of the real John and this concocted film image of him, Schofield neither looked nor sounded like John. Let's face it...he kept the same hair color throughout the entire movie...John changed his hair color more frequently than he did his clothing in those days. And as for facial resemblance, there was none. And John doesn't speak with a Scouse accent...never has. Apart from that, the film's depiction of the early punk scene in London circa 1977 was totally inaccurate, as were most of the characters and incidents. Nancy gave Sid his padlock? Don't think so...Chrissie Hynde gave it to him. Baked beans and champagne for breakfast? John doesn't drink champagne. Gary Oldman does a wonderful job portraying Sid, and though his performance may be historically flawed, he captures something of Sid's memory. Chloe Webb's performance as Nancy was fairly accurate........she really WAS that annoying...and that VOICE...like fingernails on a chalkboard. But Webb has a nice body...ever seen the real Nancy? Terrifying. Like a bleached-blonde biker in drag. At any rate, watch this film for a laugh, but don't confuse it with reality. For a real portrait of the Pistols and Sid, watch "The Filth and the Fury"...after which, you won't understand why Alex Cox felt the need to espouse so many lies in this film. The truth is far more compelling, and far more touching, than his myth could ever aspire to be.
on November 13, 2001
If I could give this movie a lower rating than one star, I would.
Forget for a moment that it is completely historically inaccurate. This isn't a biopic; it's a cartoon. The characters are nothing like the people they are trying to portray.
Oldman is one of my favorite actors, and I don't have as much a problem with his portrayal as I do with some of the other actors'. It's particularly painful to watch Chloe Webb's heretofore-lauded performance. It reeks. Did she do ANY research on this subject before plunging in? Has the word "underplay" ever entered her realm of consciousness?
All one has to do is watch a clip of the real Sid and Nancy together to see how shrill and one-dimensional is Webb's portrayal. Nancy Spungen was no angel, but she wasn't quite as stupid as is Webb's Spungen. (Read "And I Don't Want to Live this Life" by Nancy's mother for a slightly more reasonable picture.)
In employing a mostly offensive cast, we fail to sympathize with their dilemma or understand why the devil Sid would fall in love with her in the first place. How can we give a hang about them in any way? We are relieved when Webb croaks out her last 'Siiiddddd' on the bathroom floor.
Also, all of the actors are at least ten years older than any of the characters in the movie are supposed to be, and they look it. These people were, for all intents and purposes, children. Sid was 21 when he died, Nancy 20. If you watch film of the real Sid and Nancy, it hits you just how young they were. Webb looks like somebody's worn-out mother. Why Courtney Love was overlooked for this role is beyond me.
Casting younger actors would have helped to underscore the stupidity and immaturity of Sid and Nancy's actions, and also the tragedy of the reckless self-annihilation of people young enough to truly believe they are indestructible.
But this isn't a cautionary tale about drugs anyway...it's supposed to be a love story, glorifying drugs as the glue that held together Sid and Nancy's relationship (if only Bowery Snax had shown up sooner with that heroin...*sigh*).
And the happy little Romeo and Juliet scene of Sid and Nancy, looking very styley, riding into the sunset in a Yellow Cab is just pathetic. I envision her whipping out the works as soon as the car door slams. Yep, they're resting in peace all right.
If you want a more accurate look at the Sex Pistols, buy "The Filth and the Fury." You won't be disappointed.
on November 13, 2001
This movie, detailing the crash & burn relationship of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious & wanna-be groupie Nancy Spungen is one of the finest films I've ever seen. The relationship these two had and the life they lead is so depressing. The really wonderful thing about this film is for all the unhapiness these two very stupid and self-destructive people brought down upon themselves, they really had a deep affection for one another. No matter how abusive Nancy was, Sid took it, and on top of it, always stuck up for his girl. Nancy Spungen was a girl who really wanted to be a part of the music business and the world of rock stars & groupies. Until Sid came along she existed on the periphery of that world. Only the most gorgeous girls were chosen by the rock gods! Here comes Sid and Nancy is, at least in her estimation in the thick of things. Too bad they had to mess everything up. I love the way Gary Oldman portrays Sid as a really naive little kid. Sid was only seventeen when he hooked up with the Sex Pistols and met the love of his life, so there's a reality there that's great. Chloe Webb does a great job as Nancy, although Webb is much better put together than the original Nancy, she gets the mannerisms and the screaming down perfectly. One of my favorite scenes is where the couple is out to score drugs and they lean against a dumpster to kiss, out of nowhere, all this trash starts to fall from the sky. It's a perfect metaphor to their life, it says it all. I often wonder what would have happened to Sid if he had never met his destructive anti-muse. Too bad he didn't have the sense to run when he first met her.
on July 11, 2001
Don't believe anything in this movie.It's all lies.None of it is true.It was made without the conscent of any of the Sex Pistols. Johnny Rotten himself has commented that none of it is true.This film is an insult to the memory of Sid Vicious.Sure,he had an appetite for hard drugs and self destruction but there was more to him than that.Friends claim Sid was sharp,witty and highly intelligent,and he was.If you want proof of that check out his interview in the more accurate Pistols film "Filth and the Fury". Gary Oldman is a superb actor(I loved him in 'State of Grace') but he gives an utterly misguided performance as Sid.He's not at all convincing in the role.There's three basic probelms;facially, there's no resemblence between him and Sid,Gary was 27 when he made this movie but Sid was only 21 when he died and Gaz is only five foot nine,Sid was six foot two. Overall,it's an inaccurate,outsider's look at a simple story.If you want the truth check out "The Filth and the Fury" or read "Sid Vicious:Rock'n'Roll Star" by Malcolm Butt. Another thing,why is Chloe Webb playing Nancy?Courtney Love was born to play Nancy Spungen.