Sunday, 16 January 2011

Film Review: SEX & DRUGS & ROCK & ROLL (2010)

Directors: Mat Whitecross
Running time: 101 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

UK release date: 8th January 2010

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 16th January 2011.

PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.

Back in 1977 while punk was just getting going, a band called Ian Dury and the Blockheads released an album called ‘New Boots and Panties’. A few years later, feeling a bit nostalgic, I bought said album really cheap. I still have it today; in fact I’m listening to it as I type this review. Now, onto the film, it’s a biopic all about Ian Dury, his fight against disability and his rise to fame. Here’s a brief summary before I tell you my thoughts (summary haters please mingle with the audience while I write the next paragraph).


Ian Dury was an entertainer, or that’s what he always said he was interviewed. He had been struck down with polio when he was young and this left him withered down his left side. When we first see him, he is with another band who are rehearsing downstairs while his wife, Betty, gives birth upstairs. Later, after their last gig, he meets Denise Roudette, with whom he has an affair. They move in together and a while later, his son, Baxter, comes to stay with them. As Ian puts a new band together, including musician and songwriter Chaz Jankel, Baxter struggles to come to terms with the chaotic lifestyle he has been thrown into. The film plots his rise to fame and the effect it has on Ian and those around him. It also tells of his early life in flashback, his relationship with his father, Bill, and his unhappy childhood in an institution. I won’t say any more as I don’t want to give too much away.



Made in a very theatrical style, this film cuts from live action to animation, to live musical performances and back again. It all sounds a bit chaotic, but, for me at least, it works. At the centre is a really great performance from Andy Serkis as Ian Dury, although he doesn’t particularly look like him, he has all his mannerisms down to a tee. I also thought Bill Milner played the part of Baxter Dury very well, it can’t have been an easy part for a young actor and I thought he coped with it pretty well. Similarly, Wesley Nelson played the part of Young Ian Dury very well. I should also give honourable mentions to Olivia Williams as Ian’s wife, Naomie Harris as Denise Roudette, Tom Hughes as Chaz Jankel, and nice cameos from both Ray Winstone as Bill Dury (Ian’s dad) and Noel Clarke as Desmond.



Although Ian Dury wasn’t the easiest person to get along with (for those that don't know, he passed away in 2000) and consequently not the nicest man in the world, I found this quite an enjoyable film to watch. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, but I do recognise that Ian was a very talented chap and I always respected him as an artiste. Later in his career he appeared in quite a few films, not a bad actor. Over all, it’s quite an interesting film, very touching at times but also quite bold in its approach. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but still… recommended.

My score: 7.1/10

LINKS:
IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt1393020/
Official Site: http://www.sex-drugs-rock-roll-thefilm.com/news/16/
Trailer: http://uk.imdb.com/rg/VIDEO_PLAY/LINK/video/imdb/vi1506083865/

2 comments:

Jack L said...

great review!

I had forgotten this one, thanks for reminding me, becuase I'm quite a fan of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, and I think Andy Serkis is a very good actor, he actually looks quite like Ian Dury, especially in that last photo you posted...

SteelMonster said...

Thanks Jack! You're right, he does bear a striking resemblence in that last picture... They must have done a good make-up job that day... ;)