Sid and Nancy

A part of this view­ing listCri­te­ri­on Col­lec­tion Spine #20: Alex Cox’s Sid and Nan­cy.

I’m not a fan of this biopic about Sid Vicious, Nan­cy Spun­gen and their trag­ic, drug-fueled, destruc­tive rela­tion­ship. The series of ellip­ti­cal, tan­gen­tial vignettes of key moments in their life togeth­er does well to sim­u­late the rare sur­fac­ing lucid­i­ty of drug addicts, and Gary Oldman’s act­ing is superb, but I think the film fails in its promise by glam­or­iz­ing their lives to the point of hagiog­ra­phy. If there’s any­thing in the punk ethos con­don­ing hero-wor­ship, I think I missed it.

If the film had been made 15 or 20 years after the death of Sid Vicious, I could osten­si­bly see this choice being made for nos­tal­gic rea­sons, but dude was only 7 years in the ground when it was made. That basi­cal­ly means that they start­ed work on the film before Sid Vicious was even cold; and that means that in essence, this is a Hol­ly­wood pro­duc­tion meant to cap­i­tal­ize on punk sub­cul­ture.

What fol­lows from that is mere sup­po­si­tion on my part, but I sus­pect that if this movie had been made with­out stu­dio back­ing it would have been a truer sto­ry, and wouldn’t have lost mon­ey at the box office, because it would have been on the art house cir­cuit instead. Cri­te­ri­on has assured that’s where its final rest­ing place will be.