- Actors: James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, Michle Breton, Ann Sidney
- Directors: Donald Cammell, Nicolas Roeg
- Writers: Anita Pallenberg, Donald Cammell
- Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Warner Bros. Home Video
- Release Date: Feb. 13 2007
- Run Time: 105 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- ASIN: B000JYW5EG
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #69,071 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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This extraordinary 1970 British film marked the directorial debut of cinematographer Nicolas Roeg (working with Donald Cammell). James Fox portrays a London gangster who has to hide away for awhile and ends up staying with a fading rock star (Mick Jagger). The latter recognizes something of his old, daring self in the violent criminal, and after pushing open the boundaries of the hood's experience with psychedelics, the two men begin to intertwine as one. The film is an exciting pool of ideas about real and presumed power, about the mysteries of "performance" as a pressing outward toward an abandonment of identity and embrace of revelation. Beneath it all, however, is Roeg and Cammell's suspicion that the worlds of these two men--pop shaman and underworld soldier--are not dissimilar in their self-serving goals. --Tom Keogh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
"If Performance does not upset audiences," he explained, "then it is nothing."
My friend Neil and I have been waiting for some time to see this film at the cinema. It hasn't been widely available on video for some time and has not yet been released on DVD.
So we were overjoyed to see it was being shown at the Electric Cinema a wonderful recently revamped cinema in Notting Hill Gate, not a hundred yards from Powis Square, one of the main locations in the film.
Performance was financed by Warner Brothers in the late 60's, though it was not released for two years after its completion due to WB demanding recuts and probably hoping the whole sordid little film would be forgotten about.
Thankfully it wasn't, and has over the years become something important and special to many people.
Performance starts as a seemingly straightforward East end gangster film, typical of the period. However when Chas, played to perfection by James Fox, takes refuge in the bohemian lair that is Turners (Jagger) Powis Square townhouse, the pace and the feel of the film change dramatically.
Turner is a retired rock icon who is wallowing in in a filthy corner of his psyche while he decides whether to try and recapture his mojo or continue his hermit like existence. However the hermit tag only applies to Turners lack of contact with fresh air, not many hermits have two pretty free spirits in the form of Pherber (Anita Pallenberg ) and Lucy (Michele Breton) roaming naked around their self imposed prisons.
Pallenberg is the wild blonde who was probably didn't find it too hard to get into character, at the time of filming she was actually Keith Richards's girlfriend, and tales of a jealous Richards watching over the set are abound.
For me the most interesting character and also seemingly someone who probably wasn't acting is Breton. A very pretty boyish French Girl who was said to be a runaway. I have read that she died shortly after the film which seems like a sad but not surprising end for such a free spirited child of the sixties. I would love to have been able to tell you more about Breton, but a search on the internet will turn up very little. She would seem to me like a leaf that breezed into swinging London and was swept away like so many others.
Jagger is convincing as Turner and this is undoubtedly his best, if not his only good, film.
As Turner takes over control of the film from Chas we are treated to a feast of decadence and weirdness that never strays too far from reality for its own good. The film is tied down to a solid base by the continuing gangster film thread humming silently in the background.
Since 1970 many an apocryphal tale has surfaced surrounding the making of Performance, ranging from nervous breakdowns to suicide and drug overdoses. I am always skeptical about such tales, but, unfortunately most of these tales would actually seem to be true. Certainly writer and co director Donald Cammel shot himself and James Fox was disturbed enough not to make another film for many years afterwards.
As I waited for my friends to come out of the Electric Cinema, I overheard many a reaction to the film from other patrons. On the whole it would seem that people seemed disappointed or confused or even annoyed. Thanks god for that. Thank god it has not been tamed by age and become a safe little piece of 60's nostalgia.
Performance does upset audiences. It IS something.